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Member Question: What comes first, the story or the character?

Member Question: What comes first, the story or the character?

Ladies Who Critique Member Lola James has just self-published her first book (congrats!), a paranormal romance titled Bound to Remember. Today she is asking fellow writers about their writing process: what comes first for you, the story or the character? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

“JK Rowling has stated in many interviews that Harry came to her first, and then she worked the story around him. It took her five years to write the first Harry Potter book and it all started while she was on a four-hour delayed train trip from Manchester to London. The idea for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry “came fully formed” into her mind. And she “really didn’t know where the idea came from. It started with Harry, and then all these characters and situations came flooding into my head.” As soon as she reached home, she began to write immediately.

As for me, I have used both methods. For my book, Bound to Remember, my main character Toni came first. I will never forget the day I started writing Bound to Remember. I was knee deep in editing another book (we will get back to that one) when the main character Toni came to me. I knew her whole story before I started writing. I completely stopped editing at that moment, opened a new blank document, and as I wrote about her, my story began. I had her name, Toni, her occupation, a Doctor, and her complete life story from start to finish. The more I wrote about her everything and everyone just fell into place. As the characters developed, my story developed. I wrote non-stop for every moment I had available and twenty days later, I had a complete story. On the other hand, the story I was knee deep editing I wrote was based around the story. The story was complex and came to me like a movie. As I saw it happening I wrote down the facts in outline form before my characters even had names.”

So how do YOU write?

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3 thoughts on “Member Question: What comes first, the story or the character?

  1. In my children’s books, the character Princess Brittney came first and I wrote stories about her adventures. In my first novel, Gypsy Spirits, the idea came first and I added the characters to fit. I also started with an idea in my NaNoWriMo novel this year and the characters fell into place. I suppose I use both methods. The furture will tell which I use more.

    Congrats on publishing your novel.


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