A to Z Challenge 2013

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Workin' The Blog Chain

It's my turn again on the blog chain, and my predecessor Sandra has posed an interesting question to us all:

What kind of journeys do your characters make? What effects do they have on the characters and the plot? Also (if you wish), please tell us about one of your personal journeys and how it changed you.

Well, this is difficult for me to answer. Because I write by the seat of my pants, I generally have a very rough idea (or no idea at all) of where my characters are going to go. I sit back and watch them walk through it, and they change (or strive against changing) as time goes by. Ideas come to me at odd times, and not usually fleshed out very well. I am working on my characterization tools all the time however, because I'd like to be the writer that at least has a decent idea of where I'm going.

In a paranormal story I'm working on, Kris is a 20-something who has no ambition, no goals, and nothing he has to do. He possesses abilities that set him above the rest of humanity, and he's learned to look down on them with disdain. Then Mara enters his life and he is catapulted into a world he didn't know existed. The cocky over-confident man he thought he was is gone, to be replaced by a scared young soul without a clue what to do.

The interesting part about the above tale was I really started it out with no destination in mind. The story has formed on its own, and Kris is finding his way and developing as a character minute by minute. The plot has changed with the introduction of Mara, and Kris becoming aware of just how fragile his life is. It's something I did not expect when I started the story, but it's been fun to explore.

I'm definitely one of those people who believe in the positive effects that come from traveling to other cultures. I've had the luck to journey to a few countries outside of the US, and each time I found myself forever altered in some way. Preconceived notions that I had before either get confirmed or changed by the things I see and the people I meet. For example, I was never of the opinion that I could be truly awestruck by anything religious. I'm not an overly religious man, and although I believe in God, I hadn't felt any breathtaking experiences.

Then I went to Germany and had the opportunity to walk through some of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen. One could argue that the building of the church was done by man, but I would argue back that you can see the majesty of God through the beauty of these edifices. His touch upon the builder's soul is what has allowed such majestic buildings to be created. Touching the ancient stone, standing before a crypt that held bishops from the 1400s, letting my eyes linger over archways and iconic windows - all of these things together left me awestruck in a deep way.

Travel has always affected me this way, particularly when I talk to people and get a glimpse of life through their eyes. As a writer, I hope I can bring that majesty and significance to my characters as well.

If you didn't get a chance to read Sandra's post yet, you can find it here. Kat is all set to follow me on the chain.


christine said...

Nice post Eric. I love your commentary about churches. When I was in the Med visiting Italy, Greece and Turkey, I felt the same way - in fact, I remain convinced that it would be impossible not to believe in a higher power when one enters these places of worship - the energy they give off is simply too powerful.

Hmm...must think about my post...what to say...

Sandra said...

I've also been to Germany twice and agree with you about the majesty of the churches there. St. Patrick's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London are also very inspiring.

Lost Wanderer said...

I agree totally that travel changes one, or at least opens up one to more things in life, and offer different perspectives. That's why I love travelling.

Davin Malasarn said...

Kris sounds like a really interesting character. I wonder what abilities he possesses.

Eric, this post is a beautiful explanation of why we should all travel and see the rest of the world.

lotusgirl said...

Lovely post. I'm a huge proponent of travel. It's an amazing world we live in. People are wonderful all over it too. I've traveled a fair amount and there are some incredible buildings and churches in Europe. I find I am just as awe-inspired by a sunrise or the beauty of nature though.

Mandy said...

Wonderful post Eric! I agree that everyone should get out and experience other cultures. It's so enlightening. I'm a seat-of-my-pants writer as well, so I can relate to what you're saying. But it sounds as though your characters grow with the story and you have no problem whatsoever crafting them into real, multi-dimensional characters.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

Hey Eric. I wanted to let you know about my blog address change. *sigh* If you're following me, my posts now won't show up in your feed, dashboard, sidebar, whatever. So please forgive me, but you'll have to change the address for my main writing blog, Where Romance Meets Therapy, to http://jeanniecampbell.blogspot.com. To do this, you have to "unfollow" me and follow me again. Sorry for the confusion!

The Character Therapist

B.J. Anderson said...

Great post, Eric. Your book sounds very interesting, and sometimes flying by the seat of your pants is the best way to write. And your trip to Germany sounds amazing. I've been all over the US, but never out of country. But I'll go one of these days. :)

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

I like how you talk about your character's journey in terms of not physically where he goes, but rather how he changes - I think having a character who goes through this type of journey is key to a good novel.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

We have similar writing styles, Eric. Faulkner said that he just follows his characters around and writes down what they say and do. That's pretty much me, but the effect isn't Faulknerian, I can assure you.

I want to add more structure to my writing because I think it will result in less revision and a clearer, cleaner storyline. So, I'm gonna try outlining, and character back stories for book three...something I've never done. Should be fun.

Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Shaun Hutchinson said...

Great post. It's a good point you make about how journeying to other cultures really changes you in positive ways. I think Americans tend to be the way we are because we aren't exposed to enough other cultures.

Cole Gibsen said...

Beautiful post, Eric. I wish I could do more traveling. My story has scenes that take place in Japan - information I've gathered from books and interviews. I wonder how different the scenes would be if I actually got to travel there?

Kat Harris said...

Apologies for being late to this party.

It sounds like your travels have had a great impact on who you are and where you are going. That's a great thing for the characters you have created and the characters you have yet to create.