It took a while, but I finally started making some decent headway into the short story stack. I recall staring at one for the better part of an hour, swapping tabs back and forth between Reddit and YouTube as I tried desperately to think of what I was going to write. But it did come to me. Eventually.
I'm nearing the halfway point of my promise to have out some short story starters for everyone to take a look at and, hopefully, you'll enjoy them. In the mean time I thought I'd reflect a little more on creating characters because, as I discussed before, these short stories are forcing me to create characters on the spot.
Normally I'd plot things out, but for time constraints (I have some big side projects going on at the moment, not to mention my gig at the University should be starting back up any day now) and the fact that I'm doing five of these stories, I've been discovery writing. That's led to at least a couple new characters I hadn't envisioned when I first came up with the story ideas year ago. And you know what? That's good!
So if you're plotting, I highly suggest thinking our your characters before you ever put pen to paper, so to speak. For instance, I've worked out a lot of details for the character in my Paladin follow up, even coming up with the internal conflicts in the group and mapping out who needs to be where for these things to happen the way I want. But for these short stories, I've just been writing until -Bam! Need a new character. Five minutes of internet research later and I've got a name and basic design.
To be clear, I'm not hopping over to TV Tropes to snag inspiration. These last couple stories have been medieval settings, so I need appropriate names and descriptors to keep things flowing. Their personalities have been dictated entirely by the needs of the story and, strangely the reverse is true as well. I'm finding that the angle I had in mind for these stories is altering itself as I introduce these new characters to accommodate their presence in the plot.
So what's my point? If you're writing for fun, it can be amusing to occasionally discovery write a character out of thin air, letting the story dictate the person you need. Do I recommend it for a full novel? Absolutely not. But then again, maybe you're the kind of person who can do that. If so, bravo. But for me, anything serious needs plotting.
Hope to have those stories out to you guys soon! And be able to fill you in on my biggest side project! Until tomorrow!
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.