A to Z Challenge 2013

Friday, June 26, 2009

Inkheart Got Me To Thinking

We sat down last night to watch a movie and stumbled on the film Inkheart. Although I hadn't seen too many previews of it, my youngest son said it looked like something good. So we went ahead and ordered it through Comcast.

The movie is from a book of the same name (written by Cornelia Funke), and the premise is that there are certain individuals (known as Silvertongues) who can literally bring things out of books when they read aloud from them. I always like these types of movies, because they resonate so strongly with me as a writer. Even if the movie isn't great, I can feel the storyline going on behind the images.

There is one interesting aspect however, that really got me to thinking. At one point in the movie, the author of the book the Silvertongue has read from is told that his characters are walking around in the flesh. So what does he do? Well he strides out to meet the character of course. I thought this idea had some really interesting implications. What if I could meet a character from a book in person? Which ones would I really like to meet, and which ones would I be terrified to meet?

One of my favorite characters is The Walking Dude from the Stand. He's truly diabolical and just plain cool. I don't think I'd want to meet him on the street however, since he is evil personified. Actually, since it's implied that he just might be Satan, maybe I've met or seen him already and haven't known it? I also don't know if I'd want to meet any of my own characters. My writing process is so jumbled and messy, I'd be afraid my characters would want to string me up for not fleshing them out enough.

There is a scene where a character goes back into the book Inkheart, aware that he is merely a character in a book. Could he change the path of the book, since he has attained awareness? How would we feel if our characters didn't really like the roads we were taking them down (post publication)? In my case, the characters usually tell me what they're doing anyway, so I guess it wouldn't bother me. But what about in your stories? Would you be upset if suddenly your MC decided he liked the blonde thin girl instead of the saucy brunette you'd taken pains to set him up with?

Would you relish the opportunity to meet a character in the flesh (yours or any other one)? Are there any that you'd rather not meet?

A final note - I really like books like this that get me to thinking. It's fun, even if the answers are merely theoretical. Sometimes the answers can lead me to more new stories.


Danyelle said...

The Inkheart series was great!

I'd love to meet my wicked fairy godmother. And Myles. But not together--we all have way too much in common. :D

Kori said...

I'd like to think I'd like to meet some characters, but I'm so off-the-wall weird that I'd probably freak most of them out, and we'd never get beyond 'Hi, how are you?'

I have Inkheart sitting on my coffee table right now, waiting to be read, but as the majority of my time is being taken up with writing, I'm more interested in quick, light books that I can pick up, skim, and put down again without getting too involved with them, and am reading them just to break up the monotony of constant writing (although, I did make it to 50k on my newest WIP in five days of writing. Take THAT, NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriWe maybe? Anywho.)
And I didn't look too carefully at it, because I was afraid that it was too much like my first novel, and that I'd be either slapped with plagiarism, or my first novel would never sell. I later realised that they're really nothing alike (my first novel is the girl going into the book, or thereabouts, whereas from what I can understand about Inkheart, they're coming OUT of the book) but the association stuck, and I've been petrified of it ever since.

I had never considered a book that 'made me think' before I picked up Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. When I waxed poetic about it, there was a great outpouring of love and devotion from my adoring friends as they frantically tried to reassure me that 'It's ONLY fiction!' but that doesn't change the impact it had on me.

marynoel said...

Interesting thought, with a complicated answer.

If the character didn't know they were simply a book character, and therefore didn't know I was the one who'd inflicted so much pain on them, I'd want to meet at least half of them.

If they knew I was the one who'd screwed them over so badly, er, I don't think I'd want to meet any of them. XD;

RE: characters changing plans/relationships/plot on us... I think I'm used to that by now. I figure the characters know best, though it's always aggravating at the time.

As a side note----it'd be horrifying, wouldn't it? To realize that your entire life is a false existence, nothing more than words on someone else's page. How do you live knowing you aren't real? Or do you comfort yourself, knowing that you're real in their minds and hearts?

Andrea Cremer said...

Great post, Eric. ElanaJ had a wonderful post about a month (or two?) ago where she interviewed one of her characters, which I thought was brilliant.

I would love to meet my characters, but worry I'd spend the entire time nervous and apologizing because of all the terrible things I do to them in my stories. I love them I swear...but the world's a hard place and I don't pull punches in my writing.

Guilt, guilt, guilt.

wordver: dinger - name of the bell-like sounds that would burst in my head resulting from the smack I'd likely get from my MC should we ever meet

KingdomWriter said...

Hi Eric, saw you over at New Author and popped in to check out your blog. The topic reminds me a little bit of the movie 'Stranger than Fiction' where Will Farrell is the dull MC of a book (which he doesn't know) and his life is being narrated... It is interesting to note the impact it has on the author when she realizes her MC is real!
I have some really cool characters in my stories that I would be in awe of meeting, let's face it, they are everything I'm not, haha! Wouldn't mind meeting Aragon and a few of his mates though...
Happy writing!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Hmmm, don't know if I'd wanna meet characters in real life b/c I'd be afraid they'd be duller than I'd imagined. In my own WIP, my MCs are drawn from RL, so I already know them. :)

PS My characters are the boss of me. Whatever they want, they get.

Jim Harrington said...

I let my characters tell the story, or try to. I don't like it when they lie to me, though. I spent a couple of weeks on one story only to find out that the person who should have been the main character was masquerading as a bit player. It sure made a difference to the story once she stepped to the front of the stage and took over.

If I were to meet with my characters, I'd like it to be a group meeting so I could find out what they _really_ think of each other -- and me. :)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I already feel like I've met a few of my characters. I feel like they follow me around and don't shut up til I write them into submission. So if I REALLY did meet them, I might have to get a restraining order. (okay prob not. I love them too much).

Justus M. Bowman said...

I'd like to meet some of my characters, but they'd probably grow bored with me.

Amy Tate said...

Hmmm, what a thought provoking question. It's probably a good thing that we can't talk to our own characters, because you're right. They'd be angry with us. Although Sheri Oshins, author of This Writer's Life (blog) stated that a character of hers invaded her dream one night. One of my favorite characters of all time is from Lord of the Rings. Frodo's side-kick Sam warms my heart. To play such a supporting role, he stays so true to his character until the very end. I admire that.