Joys of Writing

It’s almost upon us! Because we’re right in the middle of the season of joy, here’s a question I’m curious to hear your answers to:

What about writing gives you the most joy?

Here’s mine: For the most part, I’m a pantser–I don’t plan ahead much when I’m writing a first draft. But there is one thing I do like to make a road map for, however rough it might be: my characters.

It doesn’t mean that my characters don’t end up shifting wildly away from what they started out as, but before I start writing, I always create character profiles. I love making up people. So many possible combinations! So many personalities and quirks to choose from! It’s like letting a kid loose in Willy wonka’s factory (look at all the levers! Rivers of melted chocolate!). Things I like to put into my early character profiles are random details like a person’s blood type or their greatest pet peeve, potential quotes that I imagine them saying, and who their favorite and least favorite people are. Do they each have a best friend in the cast? A rival? An enemy? I mix and match until I get a combination that feels good. Once I have a decent handful of main and secondary characters, I like to throw them into a room with each other and see what happens. From there, plot and scenes grow.

Getting to know imaginary people. Figuring out what makes them tick–and what makes them break. Learning about their connections to others in the cast. That’s what makes me the happiest when I’m writing.

How about you? What part of writing fills you with glee?

12 Responses to Joys of Writing

  1. Marc Vun Kannon Dec 17 2013 at 9:15 am #

    I don’t invent my characters so much as discover them, develop their character logic by hitting them with plot points and seeing how they react. For me the greatest joy of writing is when all the stuff that I’ve come up with as a pantser suddenly comes together and the few little things I’ve created suddenly merge, and morph into a story far beyond what I ever intended when I started out.

  2. Adam Silvera
    Adam Silvera Dec 17 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Hear hear! I do something very similar with my character profiles. When I was younger I used to get too caught up in creating character bios (including eye color, hair length, favored attire, magic power level, page worth of background, etc.) that by the time I got to the story I was already experiencing book fatigue and wouldn’t write. Now I keep it simpler, like you, and focus more on their journeys.

    Now one of my favorite parts of writing is hitting my daily goal, especially after a day away from the computer where things were getting mighty schizophrenic because I had characters talking in my head and I couldn’t talk to them back because I was with Real People in the Real World. Not fun.

  3. Jenny Bailey Dec 17 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    My favorite part of writing is learning new things vicariously through my characters. I feel like those little bits of research, the things I have to stop and look up for technical or historical accuracy, make me just that much smarter.

  4. Natalie Aguirre Dec 17 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    I love revising, mainly because I’ve been doing it so much. But I’m enjoying creating new fantasy worlds and magic and giving my characters problems to solve as I’m starting a new draft. Love learning about your writing process since I don’t plot out too much of my stories either.

  5. Susan Dennard
    Susan Dennard Dec 17 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    Love this, Marie!!

    I have to say, the most joy comes to me when I hit my stride in a draft and the words just pour out as if by magic. Every manuscript has pieces like that–though hardly every manuscript is ENTIRELY like that. But man, when I can just fall into a story–into that total creative flow–it’s the absolute best feeling ever.

  6. Chris Bailey Dec 17 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    Joy strikes unexpectedly when a character wakes me up at night to tell me something I’d missed!

  7. Kyra-Lee Dec 18 2013 at 4:54 am #

    I usually spend my time working on character bios, but they’re fairly short since I have a lot of them and want to have room to see them grow along the journey (not to mention seeing where the history comes into play). I also love it when my character wake me up in the middle of the night (or day, depending when I go to sleep…haha) to tell me how the next scene should be played out. Right now I’m having a lot of fun rewriting a bunch of scenes and adding things in…it makes the story feel more alive than it already was (and keeps giving me new plot twists for my characters).

  8. Patrick Stahl Dec 18 2013 at 6:42 am #

    I’ve had at least one time where someone has actually thanked me for one of my blog posts. That’s one of the most fulfilling comments I’ve ever received. Also, knowing that I’ve made my readers “feel” something brings me immense joy.

  9. Alexa S. Dec 20 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    For me, what gives me joy when it comes to writing is being able to craft a character that comes ALIVE to me. I love it when a character I’ve written pops off the page and feels real and almost like someone I actually know in real life! I always find that bit of it fun!

  10. tracikenworth Dec 22 2013 at 8:02 am #

    I have to agree with Alexa. It’s when I’m writing a character and they react just like they should, in the way they should, because that’s how they would’ve done so, and it hits me–how alive they are!!

  11. plan q sur internet Sep 28 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    After I originally commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment
    is added I get 4 emails with the exact same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that
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    • Marc Vun Kannon Sep 29 2014 at 11:35 am #

      There’s an unsubscribe link right at the bottom of every email. Just use it.

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