THEY are alive, in answer to this week’s topic:

Do I have a formula for creating a protagonist or an antagonist?

Short answer: No

This is mainly because I don’t set out to ‘dream up’ stories or characters. Inspiration comes to me pretty quickly from an event, (personal experience or relayed to me), a ‘what if?’ (from another story), a picture, or in at least one case, an idea given to me.
The characters in my stories are either based on people I know or they pretty much evolve within the story their stories, rather than me generating them.

A pulp writer I will never be.

I have spoken here about characters taking off and having fights I never intended, or showing up in scenes where I never planned for them to be, (or inviting themselves to my protagonists’ table for lunch!) I find myself struggling a bit between my own ideas and those of my characters. I now have trouble ending one story with a couple, because I had always foreseen the woman putting two and two together and now, the husband insists on telling her ….well, you’ll have to wait and see, (I will have to wait and see!)

I’ve also had characters who simply do not want to cooperate and so, they are out or their parts or are reduced to next to nothing, (a ‘walk-on’ as it were).

It’s almost like raising children: You give life to them and have the best intentions for them, but as they grow, they are going to make their own choices, much of it out of your control and only sometimes can you help them or will they accept your guidancel

my characters seem to be the same.

I wondered many times if I was losing my mind, until I heard a narration about C. S. Lewis speaking about his incredibly popular Narnia series. He would get letters asking him to write concerning the past or future of some of his characters and he would respond that he would love to, “but they haven’t told me their stories”.

A man after my own heart.

Can I create characters out of thin air?
Yes, but they usually arrive with a lot of baggage.

About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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8 Responses to It’s ALIVE!

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    So it looks like I’m definitely in the minority here! My characters arise from the conflict they’re trying to overcome. And my story doesn’t progress until I get to know them. Lately, I’ve had trouble getting together with them, so their stories aren’t being told. I have the external conflict, but the protagonists aren’t showing up to take care of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I get my inspiration in the same way that you do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • For me, it’s much more from real life, things I have been told or experienced, than takes on other stories…as I said, I have been given a couple of ideas, but those are rare.


  3. Jeff Salter says:

    Love that CS Lewis quote.
    It mirrors the tag line I have on my FB home page:
    “Help! My characters have escaped… and they are creating their own stories!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s almost frightening if you try to analyze it, Jeff. I felt like a stenographer trying to keep pace with the dialogue of the fight, it came so fast and out of nowhere. If they keep this up, I am going to need a stenotype machine!


  4. I love that quote by C. S. Lewis! Great post. Stories and characters can come from anywhere and I do enjoy when they write their own story. I love watching it unfold.

    Liked by 1 person

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