Friday, September 28, 2007

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning, Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning, Joe. Tell me how things are going with your new novel.
JOE: Thanks for asking. Sometimes I just sit down and start writing stories. When I wrote my last novel, I came to realize that I did not really know my characters and therefore they were not likely to be very real.
CALLIOPE: A good point. So what did you do about it?
JOE: I read somewhere about enneagrams. These are character type discriptions involving a person's fears, wishes, desires, motivations, best qualities and worst qualities as well as how they interact with others of the same or different type.
CALLIOPE: Very interesting. So did you decide to use them for your characters?
JOE: I was well along in the last novel before I discovered this approach. I went back through what I had written and adapted the characters to fit specific patterns.
CALLIOPE: And with this novel?
JOE: I decided to approach it a little more systematically from the start. First I made a list of the main characters I thought would be included. Then I decided how old they would be and what their names would be. From there, I looked through the character descriptions and decided on types for each character. Then with the character in mind and plans for how each would fit into the plot, I read through the character descriptions and made up a character profile for each one based on what I found.
CALLIOPE: Sounds pretty organized, especially for you. Are you concerned that you might be confining your characters too much?
JOE: Not really. I am using what I have done as a guide and starting point. As I write, I expect that there might be some changes in what I know about each character, perhaps some radical changes in them and maybe some characters I have not yet imagined. I have found that to some extent characters help me write the story and I never quite know where it is headed.
CALLIOPE: Is that what you found in your last novel?
JOE: Yes. I had a theme in mind that I planned to follow. But characters emerged whom I had not even considered at the start and each one became more complex as the story unfolded.
CALLIOPE: I'm excited and looking forward to seeing where the adventure leads.
JOE: So am I. Let's get going.

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