1. Tyunglebo
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    Tyunglebo Member

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    I can't fall in love...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tyunglebo, Sep 14, 2008.

    With characters. At least, by and large thus far I have not.

    Not all writers are the same, of course. But more than a few writers, indeed, I dare say most that I have listened to, describe the intimacy they feel with their characters. Even the antagonists, who may not represent good people, are entities that authors become attached to. The author gives them life, directs their actions, (at least half the time ;) ), and creates the world they inhabit. It all seems very natural to me that many writers would feel this intensity.

    I can even understand Capote's notion that finishing a novel is like"taking your first born behind your house and shooting him". As an actor, I relate very easily to the notion of becoming so emotionally attached to a character, and a setting, that you feel a part of you moves on when it is all complete.

    Yet, despite all the sympathy, I cannot conclude that I have experienced it myself, and I wonder if that is a hint that fiction is not for me. (I have written quite a bit of non-fiction, and sometimes even get paid for that.)

    I have not written fiction in a while...but I keep a notebook of potential ideas for fiction. I really do, and always have had, many ideas, scenes, characters, events, swirling around in my mind which never make it to the page. But I have, over the years, written a dozen short stories or so, a screenplay, and the first draft of two novels. (Though one was an adaptation.) Plus a mostly finished Nanowrimo piece from last year.

    Yet, I cannot say I ever really feel that attached to my characters. They do not invade my spirit. Though I have created them, I can't honestly say I feel any kind of kinship with them. I have not felt particularly depressed when I finish writing fiction.

    Yes, I have written some clever short stories, if I dare say so about myself. But the drift was on what happened, not to whom it was happening. And even when I do write character based stuff...well, you get the idea. I don't fall in love.

    So I wonder if this is a sign that I am not equipped for fiction...or if it is a sign that the type of fiction that I write will be different. Or even a sign that I have just not yet allowed myself to write the fiction that is truly inside of me...and when I do I will in fact feel that emotional attachment.

    (I felt it just once, when I adapted an old play into novel form. So, the overall plot was already known. It was my own style, and my own twists, but the ending was inevitable, and yet the one character, when his death arrived, I mourned. But I have long though that was the actor in me, since the character was originally for the stage.)
     
  2. lucieo
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    lucieo New Member

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    I wouldn't really say that you're not 'equipped for fiction.' There are been very few characters of my own making that I've truly fell in love with. I've noticed that all the ones I feel attached end up being completely different to me in personality and the ones I dislike the most have an underlying mirror-image of myself.

    Random question, do you write in first person? I've found that with reading and writing, if it's in first person, I feel far too close to the character that I cannot seem to like him/her. The further I am away from the character's feelings and perspectives, the more I come to respect and adore them. Strange, I know but third person just seems to encourage affection in my opinion.

    I've never had a problem with killing of a favorite character to be honest and as disturbing as this sounds, I usually enjoy writing it and feel no spec of remorse. The more unattached I am from my characters, the better my plots seem to be, so maybe it's a good thing that you distance yourself from your own creations.

    With that said, my advice is to just keep writing. One day you'll stumble upon a character whom you will love and adore.
     
  3. Leo
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    Leo Senior Member

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    Some people I think need to feel that affection with their characters for motivation to keep writing. You sounds quite prolific, so i don't think you're disadvantaged on that score.

    Maybe you should feel the affection for your plot lines instead of your characters. What I write tends to be very character based, with a less active plot. But what you write would probably be more plot based with less focus on the characters. Neither is better or worse, just, ye know, different.
     
  4. Jade
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    Jade Active Member

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    How many characters have you tried inventing? Most of mine, I don't see them as people, just tools for moving the story along, which I think is sort of like what you were describing. However every now and then, I find a mix of personality and create one that feels real and has the X Factor or whatever.

    But don't give up on writing fiction because you don't think your 'equipped' for it. Keep trying :)
     
  5. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Maybe you're meant to write more plot-centered fiction.

    Or maybe you just haven't stumbled upon that particular character you'd really feel for yet.

    Maybe you just need a different medium (you hinted at this with the one character you did care for--maybe you're meant for plays and not novels).

    Maybe something else.

    Nobody can really say either way since it's your head, not ours.

    I kind of feel sorry for you because I don't want to think what it would be like not really caring for my characters. :( But I realize everyone's different and you don't need anyone's sympathy. Just saying that I come from a completely different place. *shrug*
     
  6. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    if you do good at what you do, then do it that way.

    There is no "wrong way" to write. if it works for you, then it works. Go with it.
     
  7. Tyunglebo
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    Tyunglebo Member

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    My thanks for all the thoughts, past and future ones that may show up.

    In answer to a previous poster's question, I do in fact usually write third person, but I can see what you mean. Occasionally I write in the first person, but I usually feel more creative in third.

    And like I said I know you do not HAVE to feel a certain way..it did just seem to me that most people who write fiction well tend to feel that way about characters...not all of course. I was just starting to ponder if not finding that feeling in me, (yet) indicated that iw ould have more trouble with fiction as a whole.

    But yes, continued practice is very crucial. November is coming up again and I will probably do another Nanowrimo. But, in the end, since I like character based stuff when I read, I perhaps assumed that I had to create that stuff when I write. But perhaps I will end up writing things that are slightly different from what i enjoy reading.
     
  8. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    I used to paint a lot, and some paintings would take several years to complete. After I was done I would always experience a huge emotional downturn.

    Later, I went to grad school and was very into it because it was part of my work, so it was all one subject, all the time. When I finished school, I didn't know what to do with myself and felt depressed again.

    Several friends of mine run marathons and are interested in other such competitions, and they get depressed after a big event. I got insight into the problem from talking to them about their feelings.

    Such feelings are entirely natural. However, I've figured out what they're about and how to beat them, for the most part. If you're in a race (substitute the appropriate word) and you view the race as defining you, then you may get depressed when it's over. That's because when it's over, part of "you" has ended. It really hasn't, but that's how you frame it in your mind, so that's how it feels. The way to eliminate this effect is to view what you do as a treat, or as being fun, and to tell yourself that you are your core personality no matter what.

    People with weak personalities need to be "doing something" at all times to feel useful, powerful, competent, or whatever. People with strong personalities don't need to do much to back up their self-concept but frequently end up doing a lot because they enjoy life and move freely. That mean less agony and more pleasure, for everyone. And, the only difference between these people is mindset.

    So, remember, you aren't your character, book, or whatever. You're inventing these things for fun, even if this fun moves, or informs people.
     
  9. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe you just haven't found THE character for you yet. I fall in love with many of my characters. I care about them, agonize when they are killed, and cheer when something good happens to them. Then there are those that I just don't feel anything for. They are just there. Maybe you just need to keep creating characters until you find one that you can connect with, provide you want to connect with them at all.
     
  10. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    I don't always love my characters either. Depends on the character and the story. I tend to get more attached to characters I've followed through a series.
     
  11. Mikee
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    Mikee New Member

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    To be honest, when I'm writing, I feel a bit like God. I control the outcome of everything, and if I decide to destroy the world, I can do that. That's the hardest part of falling in love with your characters, I believe. The fact that you know you are their creator and you can shape them into anything you want makes them seem fake to you. But readers, however; don't get that ability. They can't change your characters.... (I guess they could but then you'd go to court and they'd probably end up paying you a lot of money.) So it's difficult to see them as unique people who you really do care about. But every once in a while I'll create someone who reminds me of someone I care or cared about in my life. Making it impossible to change them. Which usually ends up being one of my protagonists who I actually do fall in love with.

    Maybe try a few short stories where you base a character on someone you once knew or someone you currently love. Just give it a shot and see if it enhances your stories.
     
  12. Prodigy
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    Can't fall in love? Have you tried drugs? lol j/k. I make a profile about my character so that he/she seems more real, like a person who actually exists in a different world. And after I'm done, I feel like I know the person. It helps to include backgrounds, and likes/dislikes, stances on certain views etc... It works for me.

    Sometimes I'll think of a love of mine (a person, interest) and then draw them according ly to how I think and view them.
     

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