Side Effects of Revision

Usually, the more deeply involved I get with characters, the more ideas I get for the novel I’m currently revising. Sometimes all these ideas are a massive overload. My characters are constantly popping up and asking me to tell their stories – but lately it’s taken a whole new turn.

They want to tell their own stories. In first person. So I let them. I recommend that you let your characters out of the box once in awhile, too.

1. It’s good practice writing in first person.
2. You’ll get to know your characters better.
3. You’ll get to explore areas of your novel that will help you understand how it works as a whole (backstory, the same scene from a different character’s point of view…)

Keep the stories short. As soon as you get an idea for a new story, write it down. What I’m finding is that these little stories are very enjoyable to write. You don’t have to create entirely new characters or settings – explore the ones you have. Sometimes that’s even more fun than starting from scratch. 🙂

5 thoughts on “Side Effects of Revision

  1. This is an interesting idea.

    I’m a big fan of letting the character’s “character” decide on some actions, or better, force me to change what the character will do based on his or her true personality.

    If you are suggesting, however, that you let many of your supporting characters tell their own stories within the pages of a novel, two things come to mind.

    1. This would be really interesting if you made such a telling a “traditional” part of your novel. That is to say, each time you introduced a character, or at least at some “standard” time, you let each character speak–without breaking the fourth wall–your story would take on an etherial, but entertaining feeling.

    2. That said, without a supporting format, such interruptions in the flow and pace of the story might cause a drag.

    I like the idea very much, but I wonder if it would be just as valuable for you to let each character speak, but only to you, the author. You would have the character evolving/building document, it would make the character more vital to you, but might not need to be shared, as such, with the reader.

    I find myself drawn both ways on this.

    Good post!


    1. I don’t actually intend on putting these pieces into the novel. They’re just “side” pieces that help me develop some of the characters. If I don’t see a character clearly or know who they are, then writing isn’t as enjoyable for me. Thank you for reading, Rik! 🙂


  2. This sounds like a good way of getting to know characters. I’ve been writing simple biographies for mine, full of facts and their feelings and attitudes. Now I’m seeing that there may be specific events in their lives that I should flesh out in more detail — write them out as stories. Thanks for the tip!


    1. I also do bios for my characters, but writing the stories helps me really see them clearly. Glad you liked the blog! 🙂


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