Monday, May 17, 2010

Insane Characters...and Writers

I see you had the pleasure of meeting Alexis last week. I apologize for her insanity. She really is in a dark, miserable place in PURPOSE. We will soon be making strides in digging herself out of there once again. It’s the most emotionally packed section of any of my books so far and it really is good, but it’s the most difficult part to write, rewrite, revise, etc. I hate it just as much as she does.

Anyway, last week’s posts were the result of many things going through my mind in the weeks prior. It was a fun way to introduce you to Alexis, Tristan and excerpts of the book and hopefully whet your appetite for PROMISE. It was also a good writing exercise in character development. The posts were actually kind of difficult to write because in the three books I’ve been writing with her, her voice has changed as she matures and evolves. The posts are based on where she’s at in PURPOSE but more in the voice of the third book, but limited to what you experience in PROMISE. So, yeah, a challenging writing exercise.

It wasn’t the marketing and writing challenge that led me to the idea though. It was actually one of those weird ideas writers get that kept growing in my mind. Someone (sorry, I can’t remember who it was) posted on Facebook that they stopped on a piece to start on something new, right as the characters in the first piece were about to have sex. She wondered if the characters were mad at her. I imagined these poor people, naked in a semi-dark room, panting as desire all but consumes them and they just have to stand there and wait until the author comes back to write the scene.

My mind took off with it from there. I imagined characters coming to life in our computers while we’re away, a la “Toy Story,” taking revenge on the authors who left them suffering. Then I got even more carried away with the idea from “Men in Black” that our big universe is really just a marble in someone else’s much larger universe. We are living out the lives of characters in a bigger story that someone else is writing.

Just like in the books we write, our own story is about the exciting times, the times that form our character, challenge us, make us become better people. We create havoc in our characters’ lives to help them grow, because the smooth, happy times don’t accomplish what a crisis can. That’s what our Writer does for us – gives us obstacles to overcome, weaknesses to improve, breaking points that we can survive, all to better equip us to fight our own enemy and to reach our potentials.

Most of the time, our lives are boring and we just live them out on our own, until our Writer decides it’s time to grow again. So maybe, like us, our characters are carrying on in their own little worlds with all that mundane stuff when we’re not looking. They go to the bathroom, do the laundry, wax their eyebrows, get that embarrassing health issue taken care of…things that must be done but don’t move the story along.

Or maybe they’re limited to our computers, destroying the alternative outlines that kill them off so you’ll forget you ever had that idea. Or maybe they’re frozen in time, naked in the heat of the moment or hanging upside-down from a tree branch or staring their enemy in the eye, unable to do anything until we write it down. Or maybe they’re just running rampant in our minds, poke, poke, poking us in the gray matter, screaming in our heads until we finally sit down and give words to their stories.

My characters are very real to me, so I can imagine any of the above. Can you? Or am I really just as insane as Alexis?


  1. My character is waxing her eyebrows while hanging upside down from a tree branch (in some exotic locale...). No, you're not insane. The characters we create become real.

  2. I can definitely imagine the above. I wonder that all the time. Example, if you create a character who's a writer, then you create more characters through your character and it could go on and on and on...It hurts my a good way. :)


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