1. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    When Characters Affect the Author.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by cutecat22, May 30, 2015.

    Told you I was the strange one.

    I've been battling with a couple of characters for a while. I knew where I wanted them to go (and I know a lot about their history, obviously) but there was an obstacle they (or I) couldn't get over.

    They just got over it. In a way that, a) I never imagined and, b) has left me in tears because I know what happens to one of these characters later on and it's not nice.

    They are sending me on such an emotional ride that I'm having to walk away from it, just for a moment, to compose myself. But at the same time, I cannot wait to put my readers through the same ride. *insert wicked laugh here*

    Do you have this kind of connection with your characters, too?
     
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  2. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Yes. I found it a bit freaky, to be honest. To go through a scene with a friend, describing how it works and have tears come. A bit embarrassing, to be honest, so I am lucky she is a good friend with a lovely, empathic nature.
     
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  3. Bookish_Introvert
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    Bookish_Introvert Member

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    Yes, all the time and I don't make a secret of it, either. I love my characters. I pour my heart and soul into them. I think all authors do, so it's only natural we grow attached to them.
     
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  4. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Having never tried to write before, one other thing I am enjoying - ie is affecting me because it's like a wha-!? is the character talking, and doing stuff I had no idea they were going to do, or just, almost acting independently of me. It's kinda weird, but in a realy, really cool way.
     
  5. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    I needed to change the ending of my story so that one of the parents survives an attack, so I added an argument between the parents, resulting in one of them angrily leaving the house.

    The fact that I set the story in the same house where the same thing happened between my parents on a regular basis probably influenced this, and I cried while writing it.
     
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  6. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I totally get that. I love it when it happens but sometimes, I just hate what they do to me on an emotional level. They sometimes make it so difficult to remember that they are not real, just figments of my imagination.
     
  7. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    My characters are my creations. They do not do things that I did not intend. Ever. The plot is an intricate machine with every thought and action contributing to the ultimate resolution. A cog in a clockwork mechanism doesn't suddenly decide on its own to do something else other than what it was created for, and neither do my characters.
     
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  8. james82
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    james82 Member

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    I'm in a different dilemma right now, although I have experienced what you are experiencing with my own characters sure, but just last night, I realized that 'religious themes' have emerged in my story,
    and I never intended to include them. But, just like that, I identified them, and I'm not even a religious person.
    It's almost eerie in a way.

    These very themes are present now because of my plot basically. The actions of my characters is what makes
    these themes become identifiable. Now I'm finding myself dwelling on it. But every reader might not
    pick up on these themes in the sense that you do have to solve the puzzle of actions from the characters in order to really see them on a deeper level. Now I'm stressing whether or not I should just let the story/plot play out how
    I have it outlined. In other words, I do not want to alter my plot to mask these themes, or to make them go
    away entirely. Because that would mean I would likely have to rewrite my ending and I'm dead set on my ending.
    I actually need some advice on this, I should start a thread.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2015
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  9. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Start a thread but, IMHO, I would let it lead for a while, just to see where it's going. You never know, it might lead to somewhere better.

    Then again, it might not, but at least you will know.
     
  10. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I love how you can stay so regimented, but in a way, I'm glad that I can't do that.
     
  11. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This does not happen to me. I'm a cold-hearted planner. May as well call a spade a spade, aye? I have had characters simply not work out in their original form and I've had to chuck them (figuratively speaking) in the bin, or put them in the For Later drawer. It's frustrating when I feel I've invested a certain amount of time and energy in the character being who and how they are and then realizing, nope, sorry, casting department was having an off day, obviously, please send me the brunet we interviewed on Wednesday. No, no, not the handsome one. That's the whole problem. The one who wore that atrocious sweater vest and saddle shoes. Yes, him. What? No. I listened to your opinion last time and it was wrong. I'm going with my gut. The brunet in the atrocious sweater vest and saddle shoes. Him. Send him to wardrobe and then makeup and then to me. I've got plans for him. ;)

    All kidding aside. Other than the above, the phenomenon in the OP does not happen to me. ;)
     
  12. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    It wouldn't do if we were all the same!
     
  13. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    I usually play the scenes out in my head, like I'm watching a movie. Basically, I imagine viewing the character rather than being the character, so I don't get took attached, I guess. However, saying that, I do use my own experiences with emotions and such that rub off on my characters. This way, I can relate to them.

    It actually makes me worry whether my characters are too shallow and uninteresting.
     
  14. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Do you think it also could depend on what genre you are writing?

    What I mean, is, although I'm writing erotica/romance, I'm writing in the real world, my stories are set in the here and now, not in another world or fantasy setting so, theoretically, what I write 'could' happen. So the way I look at it, is they have such an effect on me, then I must be doing something right because they feel like real people to me.
     
  15. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I see what you mean. And it's possible I guess.

    Writing pure fiction in a made up world can make you feel less connected and more curious, I suppose. But the flip side would be that in a fantasy world, you'd have to instil your characters with a personality you can relate to, anyway. So I'm not really sure it would be much different.

    Writing a story that connects deeply to your own personal experiences or ambitions would effect you, though. For example, my mother almost died when I was about 16 years old, and she was in the hospital for two months -- the ICU for one. If I was to ever write a segment that was based around a character in a similar situation, it would effect me profoundly, and maybe that's what is happening to you.
     
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  16. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    As far as I can remember, I have not to this day been reduced to tears by reading a story. I have, however, cried numerous times while writing one. When I write I don't only watch the characters, instead it's like I am the characters. So, my emotions and feelings tend to follow those of the characters.

    This is one of the reasons I love writing. It doesn't only let me imagine a world or an adventure. It let's me experience it like I never have before.
     
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  17. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have cried a few times.

    The harshest time prompted me to create a similar thread on this site.

    It really caught me off guard because I was writing a story and the character was created to die. At the time the thought didn't bother me but then I began writing her and seeing her express her dreams and hopes and .... it hit me hard knowing what was about to happen.
     
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  18. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I have said this before: your characters are your creations. They do nothing that you do not want them to do, or that you do not think of. No one else is doing the thinking for you (unless perhaps you are collaborating with someone). If you write "in the moment", or "go where the story takes you", it may well feel like your characters are doing things on their own, but what is really happening is that new ideas are occurring to you as you write. This is natural. As we write the story, our characters are fleshed out, develop nuances, often spurred by the events we have already determined will happen (the effects of which have not been fully considered. And, the growth in our characters often results in new ideas about the direction the story can take. But it is the writer, and only the writer, who does this, and I think romanticizing it with notions of "my characters live and breathe" or whatever actually impairs the writers ability to craft the work. This is fatal if the writer has any notions of being traditionally published.

    None of which has anything to do with becoming emotional over a scene one has written. In that case, it is the scene itself and what it represents that summons the emotion, not the idea that a character went and did this on his or her own.

    It sounds, @cutecat22, as if you have worked out the dilemma about which you had posted earlier. I'm glad you did. But please don't sell yourself short. Your characters didn't do it, you did. Congratulations.
     
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  19. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    It's possible. I don't know. Just over ten years ago, my husband suffered a heart attack - which I witnessed. He followed that with open heart surgery so I've had my fair share of hospital encounters (plus, I actually used to work as a hospital porter. Dead bodies? seen 'em, taken them to the morgue ...) so when it came time to write something similar, I found the scene to be less cliched than some. (I hope I don't sound too big-headed)

    There are ooodles of instances on TV and in films/books where people are shocked with defib paddles and their bodies lurch off the table - well that just doesn't happen. Indeed, the paddles are not always needed or used in real life.

    It may profoundly affect you but, it may also make your writing of that scene better and, it might help you to come to terms with what happened. Plus, you would have a unique emotional insight into the situation which you can then pass on to your character.


    Hmmm.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2015
  20. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I totally agree.
     
  21. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    It was a section which had been bugging me for a while. And to a point, you are right. I just needed to give my mind the time it needed to piece all the bits together.

    But, although I had the a and the c, I really wasn't sure about the journey inbetween until I started typing this morning. I do believe they live lives of their own, even if it is only in my mind but it that helps me write, I'm prepared to let them continue.
     
  22. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    @cutecatt22 - Just so long as we're clear that it's your mind they're in. :D
     
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  23. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Yep!

    :D
     
  24. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do have a bit of an emotional connection with all my characters - the one that normally affects me emotionally when writing is the one who's an alcoholic and really screwed up her life. It sounds weird but I experience guilt for having put her through so much garbage to make her who she is...probably because I once wrote a short piece in college with her younger self as the protag, and she was a really nice, endearing kid. So even though she eventually lives happily ever after (and isn't my main character anyway), it's still messes with me to write her at such a low place in her life, and knowing that even her later "healed" self is going to have a lot of scars.
     
  25. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I get what you mean with the guilt thing.

    After you've put your character through something, you kinda want to go back and take their pain away, until you realise it's what needs to happen in the story!
     

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