We Birth Them and They Live On


Most of my main characters keep a journal. They send letters to each other, too. Every now and then, like in the case of “Grandmothers Are Magical Creatures” and a “Guest Post by Leonardo Drake,” they even send messages to people living outside their world.

Last week, while my internet was down, a friend called me about some freelance work. “Great,” I said to her, “Let me call you back in a bit. I’m trying to figure out why AlmaMia prefers fruits and vegetables over meat.

My friend laughed. “I love how you talk about your story people,” she said, “Like you weren’t the one who made them up in the first place.”

I told her that characters are like children. We create them, but they grow up and develop their own personalities. Writers have influential power, but if we respect our creations and let them be themselves, characters will claim their own ways. And that makes the writing adventure ever-novel and fun; for me at least.

Earlier today, I wanted to show my friend that I am not the only one who feels the way I do about the characters who live in my head, so I sent her R. A. Salvatore’s foreword to The Dark Elf Trilogy:
“I wanted to find out where he [Drizzt] came from and why he acted in such a manner during the three Icewind Dale stories: half-crazy, mostly lighthearted, but with a dark side to him. I know that sounds strange; we’re talking about a fictional character here, and one of whom I created, so wouldn’t his background be of minimal importance, perhaps even completely irrelevant? Couldn’t I make him whatever I desired?

In a word, no.

That is the thing about fictional characters: they have a way of becoming real—and not just real to the people reading about them, but surprisingly multidimensional to the author as well. I come to love, hate, admire, or despise the characters I create in my books. For that to happen, each must act consistently within the framework of his or her experiences, whether those events appear in the books or not.”  

Yep, my Wicked Darlings, we birth them, love them (and sometimes hate them), but in the end our characters are the ones to live their stories. Writers are just storytellers with a bit of nudging power ;-)
And sometimes, the readers of the stories see beyond the words. 
Meet Mamabuela (Sofia Cienfuegos) through the eyes of Gina Morley.  
My beloved Daydream Believer, you rock!

Share |

34 comments:

  1. This is so true. Frankly, it's a good thing my characters develop lives of their own. If I had to take care of every little detail, I'd never keep up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And how boring would that be? I know many people outline, plan, and prepare every step of their storytelling and that is super effective for them. I would probably go insane, or die of boredom lol

      Delete
  2. I do understand this thought about creating, and then bringing up a character. You c n't leave them unattended, otherwise they will simply wither.The drawing is interesting :)It's just I need to read your short story finally.
    Have a fab weekend, Magaly !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just like flowers and relationships, if you don't nurture them, they die.

      So... you are going to read AlmaMia, huh? My master plan is working. Muahahahahahaha ;-)

      Delete
    2. Yea, I do, Magaly! sooner or later, I will!
      You know being in touch with lovely modern witches, I enriched my mind so much! I feel more pagan now, or witchy enough :)hehe
      Have a blessed day!

      Delete
    3. Well, I'm glad. I think we've enriched each other's days ;-)

      Delete
  3. That part about a character staying consistent is so true. I read a book last year, where suddenly towards the end almost every character started acting completely out of character, and it ruined the whole book (which had been quite engaging up to that point).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of my favorite series did that after 5 or 6 books. It drove me nuts, and it caused me to fall out of love with the story ;-(

      Delete
  4. Fascinating! Love the portrait of Mamabuela too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love Gina's Mamabuela, too. The hair, the beautiful years on her skin, and those eyes...

      Delete
  5. AH, well, you know "One comic book did provide an explanation for a fictional universe existing as a parallel universe. The parallel world does "exist" and it resonates into the "real world." Some people in the "real world" pick up on this resonance, gaining information about the parallel world which they then use to write stories." Fascinating thought, esp. when added to the concept of inter-universe travel ;) (quote from the Wikipedia entry on Parallel Universe-Fiction)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to read more on this. The idea of an inter-universe sounds so much like dream surfing that I would love to learn more about it. It sounds sweet!

      Delete
  6. I love the relationship between the writer and the characters, and between the reader and the characters. It's a marvel to see the characters take on a life of their own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it? I, too, love to follow a character that shows evidence of having been born straight from the writer's heart, and who is still attached to her or his soul. They are alive, and that's amazing to experience ;-)

      Delete
  7. I haven't been writing long, or have much to show for it. I do know how much sense this makes though, because I think it's one of those things I struggle with... I want to more than nudge, but then it never seems right. Maybe I should listen a little bit more...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I started writing fiction (not that long ago, about five years) I didn't want to nudge either. I wanted to tight them up and drag them into my story. Soon I realized my characters had their own rope, many times much stronger ropes, and they were not afraid to use them. I think that trusting your characters, your story, and the fact that you must work together as a team, takes time... I'm still working on it ;-)

      Delete
  8. Characters taking a life of their own is one of my favorite things about stories. I know of one author who had to turn a trilogy into four books because the hero decided to be difficult and make things harder than necessary. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heroes tend to do superhuman stuff until they get their own way. And who wants to fight all that muscle? ;-)

      Delete
  9. Children are unpredictable, for sure :)
    I love how Gina depicted Mamabuela...her eyes are so wise!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "...her eyes are so wise!" and totally beautiful, indeed. I love the earthy color of her sight, the way one look tells the watcher that those eyes have seen life, and know it ;-)

      Delete
  10. Ha ha. When I retired I wrote a novel, a funny story. I based the characters on the women i used to work with. I cannot begin to tell you the way the world swayed and shifted beneath my feet when they all turned up at my surprise retirement party a few months later. For a minute I thought my characters had all come to see me. (I still play sround with the story every once in a while)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Francie, I love your words. I enjoy the way you use to transmit a message, your descriptions, the irony and humor of your prose. I hope the world (specially me) gets to read your novel. I love reading about life from people who have lived ;-)

      Delete
  11. See, that's my problem. I focus on the story and not the characters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Methinks (that I've been saying "methinks" too much lately, and) people focus on different things when writing. Some are driven by the story and the conflict, other are slaves of their characters. It's all about embracing our strengths, methinks ;-)

      Delete
    2. Methinks ;) it is a problem because I can't seem to get very far in my stories. lol

      Delete
    3. Methinks you are correct, my dear. If you can't see your people, you'll eventually lose sight of their story. That blows... Hm, I'm now intrigue. I be we could come up with some exercises to take care of that... methinks (told you, that word won't go away lol)

      Delete
  12. Gina has interpreted Sofia so beautifully, love her work, that reminds me I should call by her blog, very talented babe! Sometimes I will ask Memphis a question about one of her Oracle characters, and she will say, she isn't sure of the answer because they haven't told her that yet... I find it fascinating that writers are so in touch with these characters they become the storyteller, the mouthpiece that these characters can tell their stories, their lives, loves and adventures through, freakin awesome :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, on both. Gina is a paint goddess and Memphis is absolutely right. The only difference between writers and schizophrenia is that the latter don't write stories about the voices in their heads or get paid for it ;-)

      Delete
  13. Great image from Gina!! She does rock and so do you!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, Gina and the rocking. She has something for giving shape to the things that live in people's hearts. I know someone else who does the same, and her expressions come with feathers ;-)

      Delete
  14. I just starting writing and I want to focus on the characters and what they are like and why they are the way they are but I don't want to bore people. I tell you writing isn't easy if you are not a writer. I just had this idea and my husband told me to write about it cause he has never heard of it. :) So I am. Slowly but going. I recently put some teasers on my blog. ;) But I quit enjoy writing. I hope that one day my story is good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Writing isn't easy if you are a writer; believe me. But stories are worth the work ;-)

      Delete
  15. OMG! What a beautiful image she gifted you with. I love to have a face for that amazing crone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love to see her face through Gina, too. It brought a cascade of feelings into my heart. Those eyes... totally haunting, in the best of ways ;-)

      Delete