(Disclaimer: While I fully intended to return in September to a schedule of posting five times a week, it has come to be my opinion that my summer schedule of posting three times a week is much better; therefore, I'll be sticking with it for the foreseeable future. And yes, I just used a semi-colon, because they -- and people who use them -- are just that awesome.)
First of all, a welcome to any newcomers to the blog. Glad to have you with us. I'd put out cookies, but I'm told that Internet cookies are generally unwelcome. And happy Labor Day to everyone. :)
On the regularly scheduled programming...
Once upon a time, I watched an episode of Bones in which Booth talks to Bones about old married couples who claim that they just saw each other and knew that they belonged together. Then, once upon a slightly later date, I read a column by Dan Savage who claimed that such a phenomenon is (and I'm paraphrasing) mostly caused by couples who've been together a while misremembering how they met and imagining that they always knew what they've now long for so long but didn't know at first.
I'm not going to say how I feel about actual life couples in this instance, but the difference between these views certainly reminds me of different perspectives on character-writer relationships. (Bet you didn't see that coming.)
I once heard a story that J.K. Rowling said that Harry Potter walked into her head fully formed. That would be, in my opinion, an example of the Bones case.
There is another way. I know that personally, characters usually do not march into my head fully formed. Instead, I tend to see snatches of their lives flashing before my eyes, not their whole self. For example, with Cordamant's Heir, I think the first thing I ever saw of Amira's life was her execution. There's a lot I'm still learning about her in the writing process. Or, with the Thief Book, the first thing I knew was the Code, then DiSpirito. The MC didn't arrive until later. I think of this as the Dan Savage style.
This got me wondering if characters do appear to some people in a magical vision or something. Maybe some characters really do appear before an author fully formed and demand to have their story told, a la Six Characters in Search of an Author. That hasn't been my experience, but I'm not the world's leading authority on the subject. Maybe people find a character slowly, but misremember is as happening in a flash. I don't know. I still remember where all of my MCs have come from, and so I doubt I"m likely to misremember them in the future.
I don't know if either method is better or worse than another. All I know is what works for me, and what works for me has been working pretty well so far.
How does it work for you? Do your characters come to you all at once or in bits and pieces? Do you get a mix of both? Do you have a preference? Fan of Bones?