“I think about the characters I’ve created, and then I sit down and start typing and see what they will do. There’s a lot of subconscious thought that goes on. It amazes me to find out, a few chapters later, why I put someone in a certain place when I did.” - Tom Clancy
I thought of Clancy’s quote while working on my newest novel and realizing that the characters I was working with were once again advancing my story nicely without that much extra effort by me. I know this is a phenomenon that affects most writers of fiction, but it’s still always a surprise when the words, actions and places in which they are happening connect in this way.
Writers are, of course, immersed in the lives of their fictional characters while doing the writing. But they tend to find that the activities and actions of the people in their real lives also are creating ongoing ideas and situations that might become the next segments within those stories they are telling.
“My characters are fictional,” said S.E. Hinton when talking about the process. “But I get ideas from real people.”
It’s this merging of the real world with the fictional one that makes a writer’s life both interesting and exasperating. Happy writing!
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