If a character tree falls in the forest…


You would think that I would have diagramed the lives, motives and phycological profiles of my characters before I began the first draft of Blood Vines.  Instead I find myself doing it now, before I begin the third rewrite.  While it is a bit easier to picture my characters now than I image in would have been over a year ago, it am guessing the process of writing the novel has been made much more difficult by waiting until now.

Hmmm.  Good thing good logic is not a prerequisite to being a good novelist.  The thing that amazed me the most as I sat down to diagram the ins and outs of these characters whom I have known now for many months was not how much I knew about them, or even how much I didn’t know about them.  What surprised me the most was how much I almost knew about them.

This near knowledge began to flow effortlessly onto the page as I wrote, but had up until then remained locked in my subconscious.  Strange habits, family connections, motivations.  All sorts of interesting tidbits about my main characters had been loosely guiding how I wrote about them.  But I realized as I put it all down in black and white, that this subconscious knowledge had not allowed me to write with full confidence and courage.

Thus in the first few drafts my characterization has remained blurry.  Motivations and intentions have been muddled.  All of this has made my characters simply characters and not “realer” than reality individuals capable of complex decisions and dumbfounding actions.

Hopefully all of this rigamarole in the writing process will iron out in the end and readers years from now will never know the bizarre path Blood Vines took toward renown.  With the help from a characterization book by Orson Scott Card and some solid attempts to diagram all my characters before I begin my next rewrite, maybe my writing will be able to make more than just a sound, but a great symphonic crash.

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