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Do you write your characters, or do they write themselves?


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Exactly as the title asks.

I have two characters in particular that are my babies, I drag them from site-to-site and I know everything there is to know about them. They've become such a big part of my life that they honestly feel [i]alive[/i] in my head, to the point where when I'm writing a post, sometimes I'll get a flash of a feeling or words that dictate how I'm going to write. It's not as weird as it sounds I swear haha. But I take it to be my characters telling me how they want themselves to be written... And it's definitely ended up with some interesting posts. I always say my characters surprise me, and it's because they do. They want me to do things in posts that have me facepalming in the back as I write it out xD I truly do feel like they've come alive and write themselves through me,

 

I'm just curious if anyone else feels this way, or if I'm just a bit of a weirdo haha. So, do you feel like you have 100% control of your characters and they just have to do whatever you want them to, or do you feel like somehow they have a will of their own?

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Mine, after a while, also write themselves. To the point they can keep secrets from me and surprise me and shit. -eye roll- Honestly it's partially annoying lmao I be like "Okay, so this post is proba

I genuinely only stick with characters that I feel this level of "self-writing" with these days. I've been writing for a really long time, specifically roleplaying, and I sort of developed this level

I typically write them, as it takes a lot of time

and understanding for me to reach a point where I know a character enough to have that sort of intuitive understanding of how they function. It’s happened with a few of my

novel characters, but never a rp character. 

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Makes sense, I'm similar in that these two current characters of mine are the only ones that have really reached this level of "self-writing" for me in 14 years of writing. New characters I make, I definitely don't feel a connection to. As for novel characters, yeah I can see how that would be different. And as a reader it's more enjoyable for sure when you feel like the characters are their own identities, rather than just the author's musings haha.

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They write themselves, 100%.

Reality is an illusion. 


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Mine, after a while, also write themselves. To the point they can keep secrets from me and surprise me and shit. -eye roll- Honestly it's partially annoying lmao I be like "Okay, so this post is probably going to be x" and then I start typing and they just go in a completely freakin different direction. Asses.

 

There was something I saw a few months ago about how writers have been quite adamant their characters have a voice and will of their own for quite some time, like back into the middle ages or further if I remember right, so it's just the condition of being a writer to have this happen. It sounds like it should be weird, but it's actually quite normal, s'just a #lilwriterthang

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I genuinely only stick with characters that I feel this level of "self-writing" with these days. I've been writing for a really long time, specifically roleplaying, and I sort of developed this level of connection with my characters and the sense of intuition early on. I think it's a fairly common perception, because roleplaying is most definitely an escapism for a great majority of people. It goes beyond a hobby, albeit for some it can definitely turn into a career. 

 

There are often times when I'm making a reply, and I've planned out specific scenarios or goals with my writing partners, and the character ends up taking it in a direction I hadn't expected or planned for in the first place. 

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Some of my characters write themselves because I've had them a long time and I'm of the same mind with them. Some of the newer ones I generally have to write for a time before we get a feel for each other. I still have some that come more naturally then others but for the most part I like to think it's an even balance.

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When characters are new there is this sort of side-eyeing each other as I write them and then they begin to take over and they write themselves. It's why profiles with their backgrounds are never fully the truth as the characters reveal things to me as we get to know one another better.

 

One of my fav moments of this was a character I made then scrapped after a month. Two months later his story was still going around in my head so I created him again and he just took over. It was literally like he stopped me writing up his background and said "let me show you who I really am"  And he is now one of my characters that I know everything about since his birth. He has just found out he has a half-brother. It was a HUGE moment.

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I largely find that my characters write themselves. I definitely have a type when it comes to character archetypes, and so I usually find little issue in meshing with their mindsets. Every once in awhile, I'll go through a sort of adjustment period where it takes me a few posts/threads to find a character's voice, but normally I just let them run with whatever is going on. 

 

I tend to write very stream of consciousness, and it definitely contributes to this - though I don't know exactly which developed first for me.

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This used to be a thing with me, back in the day, the characters "writing themselves," but I do think you have to be careful with this approach. In essence, this is Method acting — You understand the character on an instinctive level and let "them" react through you. But there can be what we always called "bleed" back in the day — That overlap of character emotion with your personal emotions, which I've seen (and experienced) leading to drama and upset because the OOC/IC lines get blurred. Not everybody takes it that far, but I do think it's worth being aware.


I also have to say, it can be really annoying when "they write themselves" is thrown around as an excuse, which I've also seen a lot. I get that we mean figuratively here in this discussion thread, but if I'm writing with you, giving me the metaphorical shoulder shrug and shoving blame for insensitive decision-making onto the character just doesn't fly. In the real world, you are the one in control. We all have reasons for making decisions in RP — Whether you like going full Method or not, I think being able to articulate them is not just helpful/respectful to your partners, but helpful to your own writing and development goals, too.


For me personally, I find being more cognizant of plot and development goals, and then letting the instinct inform the progress of those (rather than dominate/dictate them) is a healthier way to go about it.

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Would it be pretentious if I said they write themselves? I mean, dialogue is HANDS DOWN my favorite part of writing scenes with multiple characters. I absolutely LOVE seeing how they react coming to life. Truthfully, as I write the scene, it's almost as though the characters themselves are speaking. The back and forth between characters are often the aspect of writing I have to think about the least -- it feels more natural to go off instinct rather than playing mental chess with myself trying to figure out how a particular chunk of dialogue should go. It's a blast, honestly.

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My characters love to annoy me with things since they write themselves when I try writing for them. XD Odd I know.

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