I’ve been dreaming characters. This book I’m writing is a modern retelling of Les Miserables, which I’ve tentatively titled Tears of the Wretched. Tentatively because it’s a little melodramatic. But then so is Les Miserables.
Every time I think about what I’m attempting to write, it scares the bejeezus out of me. I cringe just to tell you what I’m attempting. I’m, like, embarrassed that I presume to try this.
So moving on…
I’m dreaming characters. This is so exciting, because they are these vivid, fascinating (to me) characters. They are not main characters, but walk-ons. And they say so much about the world they live in, their society, their family, their life, and who they are, in a very poignant way. (At least, I imagine they do.)
That’s a tall order. They are a picture worth a thousand words.
And they’re so fleshed-out, in my mind, that I could write a whole novel on each one. Which is a problem, because I keep wanting to move them up to major character status. Or actually write a novel on them.
What’s also odd is that I’m not thinking them up. They are hitting me. Bam! I am dreaming them. Just boom! and they’re there.
Surreal. This has never happened to me before, not in nine years of writing.
But thank you, Universe. No way could I write this story without some major divine intervention.
It makes me ponder. I generally focus on my main and secondary characters, and other “bit” characters are added as needed. They’re static, single-function, serving the story and/or the other characters.
Should I be doing this in all my stories? Would I have a livelier, more vivid story if I made each bit and minor character novel-worthy? Even those who are only onstage for a sentence or paragraph?
Am I reading too much Dickens? (I’m currently reading Oliver Twist. Reading Dickens is like sipping a good cup of hot chocolate: comforting and yummy.)
What think you? Do your bit characters make you want to write a whole novel on them? How do characters occur to you? How fleshed out do you go for each character? Major? Minor? Bit?