I’ve read a few articles written by other authors on the subjects of ‘Heroes’ and ‘Anti-heroes.’ I’d never really put much thought into what categories my characters might fall under. I understand the basic concepts of heroes and heroines, love interests, villains and/or antagonists. But I’ve never plotted out in detail whether or not I’ll have an anti-hero in the story. I’ve had characters who would be classified as an ‘anti-hero’ — someone who performs heroic actions but doesn’t have the typical qualities attributed to heroes such as morality, courage, and idealism.
I didn’t consciously think about how to create a particular type of character. My approach to storytelling is a fluid process. I predetermine my main characters before I begin writing. But, sometimes a minor character develops as the story is written, and ends up with a meatier role. I like revealing certain aspects of a character’s personality while some traits are left a mystery for the reader. This practice isn’t exclusive to me or my writing. I know other writers who, like me, are more reactive as they write their story and others who prefer to plan their stories in great detail.
One way isn’t better than another. When I read the articles, I wondered if I should do more planning before writing my stories. I can see where some individuals might enjoy the in-depth plotting and research prior to beginning their projects. Would changing my methods improve my stories and my characters, or would it inhibit my natural storytelling abilities? I guess I will never know until I try it.
I hope my readers are surprised and entertained when they read my books. I believe I would miss my own surprise and wonder as my tale emerges from my gray matter and ends up on the page. I’m as entertained by the developments as I would be if I were reading it for the first time.
How many other writers feel the same way? Do you insist on plotting your story out? Or are you operating with a very fluid story arc?