Life in progress

#SoCS – Giving birth to characters


Being a writer, I’ve read thousands of articles and opinions on how we typically come up with the characters who appear in our fiction. Is there a typical way? Probably not, but being as this is stream of consciousness and I stuck that damned rule in there to say we can’t edit, … that’s all she wrote.

Anyhoo, back to the topic of characters. One of the phrases I read a lot is “giving birth to characters.” I can’t say that I do that. “Giving birth,” to me, implies that they’re brand new shells of people who rely on me to fill them up with experiences, emotions, ways of speaking, and things they’re likely to do and ways they’re likely to react at any given moment. For me, characters appear as already-formed beings. I don’t give birth to them as much as I discover them.

One of the ways I know this–one of the main ways I know this–is when they show me their accents. In this alone I can tell where they come from, whether or not they have a lot of money, their age, their demeanor. I suppose it’s not necessarily as much “accent” as way of talking. Inflection, grammar, whether or not they use a lot of cliches. That sort of stuff.

It’s not as though I have them hanging around in my head all the time. If they did, I wouldn’t get a thought to myself. Nah, they come and go. You’ll see them in my “Second Seat” series. Come to think of it, it’s almost as though I have a bus inside my head …

Hmmm… Now there’s a thought.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is a weekly prompt that anyone can participate in. Click the following link to find out how, and see all the other posts in the comment section. πŸ™‚ Give it a try!

Author: Linda G. Hill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

30 thoughts on “#SoCS – Giving birth to characters

  1. Good read. Speaking as the driver of one of those buses I can say that it’s sometimes a helluva ride. πŸ™‚


  2. Loved this essay on characters. Mine run off with the carefully planned story line every-time. The comments to your thoughts on characters are equally interesting. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the way you described giving birth to characters as ’empty shells waiting to be filled up.’ I also enjoyed hearing how your characters hang round in your head, talking in various accents and displaying their personalities! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think character creation is a bit of a combination of both — they kind of spring into my mind and then I flesh them out and give them details. Of course, they never take the path I want them to take, but isn’t that par for the course as a writer?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I do like your take on the “giving birth to characters” perspective. My characters are fully formed, too. No blank slates and no burping necessary. But some of them are shape-shifters πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Am I the only one that wants your second seat series posts to be a little bit longer?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re the only one who’s mentioned it so far … But thank you. πŸ™‚ Today’s is the longest one yet. If it doesn’t turn you off, likely nothing will. It contains what ended up to be my main character in the series.


  7. Loved the post. Quick question, how can we get the buses to leave? For a little while anyway. And I have never written fiction other than a short story or two for school but there is a busload of characters forever in my head anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes! And just when I think I know a character, they turn around and surprise me with a fun new fact. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Giving new meaning to “are you on the bus or off the bus?”

    i love how we start something, wang to start over and then remember that rule.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love this! I guess not so much give birth rather we adopt these qweer folk who dont leave us alone!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Reblogged this on The Militant Negroβ„’.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That’s an interesting image, a bus in your head.


  13. I feel like giving this sort of a birth to characters when I post on the Gotta Love my Studio blog. I generally like writing reviews, and this in combination with my studio living, sounds like a good mix.
    Thanks for the tip

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Mine just rock up when they belong, and where they belong, and I have no say …

    Liked by 3 people

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