Once we had the very skeleton plot organized, Allie and I moved into creating our two main characters. This is where things got tricky because we worked by consensus. What I mean by that is if we didn’t agree on something, we kept looking until we found something that we did agree on. We work well together, in my opinion, so it wasn’t too hard to find things we both like but it still took some work.
What I didn’t expect to happen was that it taught me a lot about how to plan and develop characters. Just sitting there and talking (well, we were typing) about features, characteristics, and motivations made me think a lot more than I usually do about a character. Usually, I have a vague idea in my head of who my character is and I go from there. But you can’t do that when you are working with someone else unless you’ve learned to communicate telepathically, which I have not.
So while I don’t think it’s a bad thing that I usually write from a vague idea rather than fleshing out my character in a way that makes sense to others, I do think this helped me figure out how to explain my character development process to other people. I am grateful for that. I’ll write more about how I create characters later on; for now this will have to do.
Back to the point – sorry, my stories like tangents and I don’t edit them out of my blog posts as much as I edit them out of my stories. Now we had the characters ironed out and decided one of us would write as each of our main characters. This works really well because we naturally have a different “voice” for each character and don’t have to work as hard at making it clear which character is “speaking.”
I was a little worried about deciding who would write which character but it turned out to be simple. We were like siblings who walked up the stairs of our new house and our parents told us to pick our bedroom and we turned in opposite directions, each of us claiming the one we wanted. No fights ensued and we were ready to begin!
This post is getting a little long, so next time I’ll talk to you about some of the parts of co-writing that I found the most fun and the most complicated.
How do you develop your characters? Do you plan them out with character sheets and visuals or do you have a vague idea and go from there? When you read about a character, what are some of the things you notice about them?