*sigh*I’m beginning to think that all my creativity lies in finding new ways to not write.
Over the course of the last novel, I’ve had about a trillion ideas for cute little scenes between characters or possibly tragic vignettes or dramatic one-shots. But none of them seem to fit anywhere! It’s really quite frustrating because they look awesome playing out in my head, but I feel like a total slacker if I actually take time away from actually writing the novel to work on mini-projects. Until last night.
It occurred to me that, as the author, it just might be handy to have all the little bits and pieces of your characters’ past lives–whether they relate to the story or not–written out. After all, the more pages devoted to each character, the more deeply you know them and the more developed they become in the real novel, right? And no one ever has to even read them to make them worthwhile.
Also, it’s a grand excuse to write utter fluff and still feel productive.
1. Character Development Scenes
The scene I’m working on right now occurs sometime during my MC’s teen years and consists of a neat, little cross-section of what her life looks like after her parents pass on, essentially leaving her to be raised by her elder brothers and the household staff. Hence why she turns into one of the most unorthodox, slightly off-the-wall Victorian ladies you’re likely to come across. It shows her relationship to both brothers and, in a way, foreshadows her life to come.
I’ve got a couple more ideas for similar scenes between various other characters, and the outlines alone are already sparking ideas that are actually usable in the novels. So, if you ever have the inclination, I would say writing up scenes from your charries’ pasts, even if they aren’t going to be used, would be worth your while.
2. Things That Happen Off-Screen
Over the course of the series I have outlined for my characters, there are approximately two deaths, a wedding, three births, and several romances that all happen off-screen. I have absolutely no idea how those things go down, simply that they eventually do. And if I don’t know, then the characters sure don’t know what’s going on. As it is, I just have bare bones ideas of what happens. Enola and Theo fall for each other. Inigo dies heroically. Flynn marries some random person, has a son, and then the random person dies. See? Not particularly interesting. So I’m going to write those scenes as I have time to so that perhaps the scenes in the novels themselves will be that much more real.
3. Things From A Possible Future
Not to sound like one of my sci-fi fandoms, but assuming you aren’t entirely sure of how your character’s life is going to play out, you can take their possible lives out for a test drive, so to speak. I’ve tried it on various occasions to see which scenarios felt the most natural for the character. Which ones seemed to flow as if they were meant to be. And which ones had to be dragged out of my head kicking and screaming.