I don’t know if I’m just some special snowflake quirky piece of trash, but I find that many of the characters I enjoy writing the most just come to me in the moment. It’s not to say that I don’t spend time outlining my process, it’s just that I find the spontaneous addition of a new guy to the cast being positively exciting.
If you’re a writer, well, if you’re a writer anything similar to me, you might be what’s called a plotser. And no, that’s not just a term I made up to make myself feel special. Just an existing term I take advantage of to make myself feel special.
In essence, the plotser is that writer that straddles the lines between being an outliner or a pantser. Basically, I just make a decently detailed outline that includes events, an overview of the tale, characters, etc. But all those other things that I mentioned are not really important. After all, we’re here to talk about characters that just materialize themselves into existence while you’re writing.
I’ve recently run into one of these during my writing, and it was an antagonist. I was getting a little bored before the time I’d placed him in the main cast and ever since I did, it added a little spring to my step. If you kids are writing something on your own right now and you feel like you’re getting stumped, try adding a new antagonist. I found that it added a certain level of stakes that was missing.
But it’s not villains…there’s more to it.
People love getting surprised. They love pissing their pants while they watch a horror movie, children love finding a Christmas toy that wasn’t on their list that they actually enjoy, and who doesn’t love any kind of surprise gift?
I recall myself growing giddy at just prospect of this mysterious, sneaky, and threatening individual. For the love of Christ, my feet were tapping the ground like some terrorist had just broken into my room! I felt as though I’d discovered some new dimension to my story that I had yet to explore, a new aspect of my world just waiting to be developed! It adds this certain layer of mystery to a creative work that I thought was already planned out. The sort of mystery one has when they first start outlining their work.
There was a constant din of typing around me the second that I started work on the fellow, and now he’s a part of my established universe. So I would guess that if there was any moral lesson to any of this, it’s that anyone getting stumped should try to throw in a “Wild Card” into their work. Be it in the form of a new character, new location, new plot thread, new background story…author just love new things in general.