I met up with a couple of writer friends at the coffee shop yesterday. Not so much for writing, but for chatting.
J. and I are in the same place…we’re at the beginning of new projects, but we have opposite problems. She’s got a great character and voice (okay, I haven’t actually seen her new piece…but she told me all about her spunky new character…and I know her work well enough to know that anything she writes is going to have voice), but she’s frustrated because she has no plot. I have plenty of plot (of course, I do…I’m writing a murder mystery! Things HAVE to happen in a murder mystery!), but no character or voice. I am simply moving my stick figures around in my plot. And hoping my character will reveal herself to me as I move through this first draft and I can bring out her voice in the next draft.
I told J. it’s too bad she can’t just plunk her character into my plot. (Well, except for the fact her character really doesn’t belong in my plot…she’s got a middle grade character and my story requires a YA character.) I don’t understand why J. is having a problem…she’s already got a character! A FABULOUS character. Just put that character in a story already and start writing!
But it’s not that easy for her. She probably listened to my character woes and thought, “what’s YOUR problem? Characters are easy.” And they are for her. Characters just come to her, fully formed. She’s got seven or eight of them floating around in her head and no story to put them in.
It’s interesting how differently two authors work…