Pre-Writing as Unlockables
This weekend I created two new characters for the next novel, and I thought, “You know, it’s similar to unlocking characters in a video game”. I’ve talked before about how thinking up ideas is like uncovering a dinosaur fossil (metaphor provided by Stephen King). In other ways, it’s like when you’re playing a video game and you unlock something new. It could be a setting, it could be a cutscene, or it could be something useless that provides a little background, like concept art (worst unlockable ever, I don’t care how the sausage is made, I want more sausage).
And sometimes it’s a character. In video games, this is not always the best thing to unlock–playing through the game again with your main character in a fish suit doesn’t enhance the experience much *cough*God of War*cough, unless that character is super different, like maybe he has a melee weapon instead of a gun. But in writing, characters are what the story is made of. So discovering a new one is probably one of the best things you can do while pre-writing. And one of the most fun.
I came up with a new character this weekend and I couldn’t stop thinking about her. So it’s like in a video game, when you unlock the character, you want to try them out. So you learn all their new moves, new timing, maybe plot and cutscenes, weapons, HP, basically what makes them tick. Some characters carry more meaning then others. But if they are fun, then it’s a great feeling to discover them, because you know the audience is going to enjoy them just as much.
Until I kill them off.