Viewing blog entries in category: Writing Tutorials
As usual, there's about fifty gazillion threads about creating characters and other matters. After much thought, and practice, I've come to the conclusion that it isn't as tough as it's made out to be.
Characters are much like people, they're born, they live and then they die-just like us. Now their birth can be anything from sitting down and planning a character out to suddenly jumping onto the page without warning. My six characters each appeared a different way.
Talia and her three sisters forced themselves into being. She wasn't going to stay in my subconscious any longer and not be seen, so out she came.
Micki was one I thought of when watching 'Starship Operators' and the character Shinon.
Athol, my newest and psychotic character, simply popped into being. I typed up two lines that suddenly appeared in my head, then saved them to come back. When I woke up and started to see where they went, Athol just appeared and, in vintage Athol fashion, cursed me out for making her work so hard.
Now, what's the common denominator in all this? Just like I said before, they are born, live and die all on the pages before you the writer. What makes them real? Their strengths, weaknesses and personality is what brings them to life. Look at each character you have written. What are they like? What is their personality? Are they kind? Cruel? Have a potty mouth?
All of that makes a difference. In fact, just looking at the snippets of the finished Talia novel I'm posting and the ones from the rough draft of my Athol novel show those kind of differences in black and white.
So, when creating characters, let them create themselves! Don't worry about stereotypes or Mary Sues..just write your story.
One of the things I see a lot on writing forums are beginning writers asking about characters. It seems that creating characters is challenging to those who are just starting. In reality, they’re not. The problem most people have is they don’t realize that writing comes from the heart. What do I mean by that? Well, here’s a brief explanation.
I created a character named Kate over twenty years ago while I was in middle school and carried her with me until late this past fall. She was a brutal character who could be very violent, and always carried a lot of angst with her. I have Bipolar and when I was coming through the school system, there wasn’t the support programs there are now. In fact, my illness got listed as LD/ED, and it never addressed the issues that lead to being unstable and not able to fit in with the crowd.
That led to a lot of mental abuse from the people around me over the years and that ended up going into Kate. She became the anger, sadness and frustration that I felt over the past. So, all the brutal rage that builds up when one suffers abuse became the reason for her creation.
One day, a kind lady named Maia challenged me. She asked me whether I wanted to be a serious writer, and I decided that the answer was “Yes.” When that happened, a thought arose to create a new character and, PERHAPS, kill Kate off. As I worked on creating the new character, three more came along to create and ensemble cast (which is a post for another day). Things started to change, and a whole new world for the characters morphed off the one I’d already built for Kate.
As I said earlier, the previous character Kate was based off my pain and hurt. The new character, Talia, and her sisters came from the ‘new’ me. Having spent almost three years having regular counseling after my last bipolar breakdown, I came to learn, and accept, who I was. This opened up another side that never had shown itself while writing. Thus, the characters changed.
Hemmingway is famous for saying:
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
His quote is very true, and I challenge everyone to look deep inside yourself when you’re starting your characterization process and see if there’s any connection, or chemistry, between you the writer and the creation. If that doesn’t exist than the writing won’t feel ‘real,’ and it’ll leave a person wondering what they’ve done wrong.
Writing comes from the heart.
Several blog posts on writing from the heart and how it relates to character building and style of writing. Also, I'll be putting up some information about social networking and what I'm learning is effective and what isn't.
I'll link things up when it's ready.
This is going to be a lengthy set of blogs, so I'm going to post each in individually. A couple days ago, I completed a first edit on a hard copy of chapter one of my novel. This is what there is after edit one. The second part will cover the editing for second round, and the third part will have a closer to finished product.
I, and no one has to do it my way, feel it's easier to do these things off a print out then the screen, because it allows me to see how the words aren't perfect. On the screen, they all look perfect, and nothing seems to feel like it needs cutting. as you can see, it's ok, nothing special though.
Here's the initial first copy:
She tore onto the landing field; freedom just feet away.
Her athletic shoes slid across dry, burnt orange ground before they gained a purchase, the sudden stop causing her to windmill both arms to keep balance. She spun on the balls of her feet, blonde and red hair following the motion before reversing course. It flopped over her face a golden colored shield, and the girl raised a hand, blood running from several deep cuts on the back of it, pushing it out of the way with a growl.
The girl squinted her eyes after spending so much time indoors, licking suddenly dry lips as she kept looking over her shoulder and then back towards where she came. A young man, burly shoulders rippling, sweat plastering his brown hair to his head, struggled with an older man. He gave up five inches to guard, fighting to keep him at bay, before looking over at her. His rounded, chiseled face making her heart flutter for a second, the strain contorting his high cheeks into a grimace of pain, before looking over his shoulder at her.
“Katie, run!” He shouted. “Go! Get to the shuttle!”
Another voice chimed in.
“Almir! Run, damn it, run!”
She glanced over a shoulder at the tall man, standing on the shuttle’s cargo ramp, his long, thin face scrunched in a snarl. The backwash from the shuttle’s turbines lifted his short, salt and peppered hair as he looked at her, eyes imploring her to run. Dust thrown up from the turbines turned his black uniform an ugly shade of brown and he kept a hand to shield eyes.
Another cry drew the girl’s attention back to the young man’s plight.
“Katie! Go! Get the hell out of here!”
Tears ran from her green eyes and down curved cheeks, and through the channel on both sides of her small nose. Kate took a couple steps, chest tightening as Thomas, best friend and lover, sacrificed himself for freedom. Rear Admiral Claudio Reyes, head of Fleet Intelligence, screamed at her, her mind racing with conflicting thoughts and emotions.
What the hell do I do? I can’t leave Thomas-what would I do without him??
“Goddamn it, Katie!” Thomas shouted again as the man started to gain the upper hand. “Move your ass!”
The guard pressing his greater leverage, and his muscular arms rippling, starting to gain an advantage as He shoved Thomas down to the ground, pulling a long, shiny knife from a sheath on his belt. Thomas, helpless to stop the events about to unfold, looked at her, tears in his eyes, silently begging Kate to run.
Kate ran towards him, right arm extended as if she could prevent the events about to happen. “Thomas! No!”
A quick flash of steel in the orange sky, and the man drove the knife deep into the side of Thomas’ throat. Blood spurted as the guard pulled it back out, and the younger man brought a hand up to his neck. The red liquid, his very life, flowing between the fingers of his hand, and he looked over at her, eyes full of love, starting to visibly weaken.
She fell backwards, legs buckling, barely feeling the impact with the hard ground. “No! No!! NO!!!
Thomas seemed to shrivel, and he fell to the ground face first and didn’t move. Sobs, deep and wrenching, racked her body as Kate pushed herself backwards with both feet.
“Almir! Come on! He’s gone!” Reyes shouted.
She pushed herself back upright, the move mechanical, staring blankly where her best friend-and lover-lay. “Thomas!”
Kate ran backwards, never taking her eyes off the guard. A sneer, combining joy over the kill and disdain of her, pulling the corners of his lips upwards, and the man looked up, seeing the shuttle, eyes narrowing and he spat on the ground.
He reached onto his belt, pulling a grenade off, and yanked the pin. The guard tossed the grenade, moving quickly backwards, as Kate spotted the tumbling weapon. Behind Kate, Reyes stepping forward, arm outstretched, his face contorting in rage.
“Shoot that bastard!” he screamed.
Multiple gunshots filled the air, but Kate never heard them. Her mind moved on overdrive, the world around her, moving at light speed moments before, slowed to frame-by-frame. She stopped shy of the shuttle, watching the pineapple tumble through the air, every detail crystal clear. It’s ovular; armor gray exterior contained many round protrusions, each containing its antipersonnel shrapnel, with small squares covering the remaining surface.
“Almir! No! Get down!”
It started to angle down at her.
“Almir, move! Run!”
She looked at him, blonde hair flying, and then back to the grenade. It was already too late, and Kate closed her eyes waiting for her inevitable death.
The explosion, blinding her even with eyes shut, shook the air and she opened her eyes as a mighty fist slamming into her chest. Explosions of pain raced up the spine as Kate’s chest collapse the sound of her heartbeat dying. A spray of needles tore into the bottom of her face, which burned as if someone poured burning oil on it. Hot steel, rushing outwards at great speed, ripping through her arms and legs, adding to the agony until the crescendo overwhelmed her.
Kate slammed into the ground, the impact brutal and adding to the pain filling her consciousness. Pain spiked and raced into her overloaded brain, the burning agony increasing to levels she’d never experienced before with each attempted breath. Screaming didn’t work, because her mouth wouldn’t move, which left Kate screaming in her mind, the horrible sound tearing deep into her consciousness, ripping sanity away.
The agony reached a peak, and darkness grabbed her feet, pulling her downwards.
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