A to Z Challenge 2013

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Guest Blogger - The Characters Inside by Cassandra Jade

Note from Eric:   I've had the lucky opportunity to be a part of Cassandra Jade's blog tour (the first person, no less).  I can't tell you how cool this is for me, not to mention the honor of having a writer like Cassandra gracing my blog.  She even allowed me to put up a post on her blog, so you can check out my post here.  Without further ado, heeereeeeee's the talented and awesome Cassandra!

I want to firstly thank Eric for hosting me today and officially launching my blog tour. I’ve been reading Eric’s blog for some time and really love his candid nature as he discusses his writing journey.

As the title suggests, today I am writing about the characters that dwell inside all of us, whether we write them in to life or let them languish in forgotten corners of our minds. I know there are many writers that dispute the idea of characters creating themselves but it often feels like characters find us.

Where do they come from? Probably from hours upon hours of subconscious thought, putting together attributes and ideas before our conscious mind pays any attention and so the character creation process is probably still taking place but without really thinking about it. But these characters spring to life and then they want us to tell their story.

And they all have a story.

I think that’s what I like about characters that seem to simply appear rather than the ones I laboriously construct. These characters have depth and layers that if I was creating a character from scratch on paper, my creation just wouldn’t have. They have backgrounds and likes and dislikes and motivations that I wouldn’t consciously have thought of but these characters come along and just want their story told.

Maybe these are left over imaginary friends from childhood, but somehow I doubt it.

The problems really begin after these characters have been floating around inside your head for awhile. Getting all of the many attributes that you know and love about these characters onto paper becomes difficult and no matter how you write it, they never seem as alive as they did when they were inside your head. The other problem, is after you’ve been writing them for awhile, they seem to exist outside of you and aren’t really bouncing around anymore, clamouring for your undivided attention. And I am all too easily distracted by the next character that comes along.

Other problems arise when you create a character that you don’t personally like. While these characters are sometimes fun, when they are bouncing around your head they can really make you want to delete them.
There were definitely moments when writing Death’s Daughter that I really disliked my protagonist – and mostly I was supposed to dislike her – but sometimes it made writing a scene hard as I would have her say something and then flinch, wondering why I would have her say something that horrible.

So the question for the writers out there is this: Do you have characters inside of you? If yes, what do you do with them?

Cassandra Jade is a fantasy writer from Australia. You can visit her blog at: http://cassandrajade.wordpress.com
Her first novel, Death’s Daughter, is available from Lyrical Press.


LR said...

Great post Cassandra. I have a very close/strong relationship with my novel characters (short story characters less). In fact I know these characters so well that sometimes I think the challenge is remaining objective enough about the work.
I love my characters, yes. But will everybody else?

Carol Kilgore said...

Congrats on starting your blog tour!

Anonymous said...

What a great start for your blog tour! :D

I can generally picture my characters pretty well--getting that to come through in words stumps me sometimes, tho.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Great stuff, Cassandra, and glad Eric could kick-start your tour.
The main characters in my book existed in my head for a couple decades. So while the orginal story idea surrounding them was total crap, I still had great characters who just needed a new venue. And they got it!

Elana Johnson said...

Very cool post. I think I have characters inside me, but they don't come out unless I coax them with large quantities of chocolate. Or at least that's how it feels sometimes. :)

Anonymous said...

Well said, Cassandra. I completely agree with you that some characters just don't go away no matter how you rewrite the story.

Anonymous said...

Thanks all for the support.

Much like Alex - at the moment I have a character bouncing around my head who I think will be amazing, once I finally find her setting. So far she's gone everything from medieval, twenties, nineties, modern day, and into the future and nothing is really sticking. She may get sent back to limbo if I can't find a place for her to be.

Thanks all for joining me on day one of the blog tour.

Christine Fonseca said...

I love this post. My best characters are the ones that find me, not the other way around!

Misha Gerrick said...

I know exactly what you mean Cassandra.

I started on my beast of a fantasy epic because one day this bad-ass walked into my thoughts and refused to leave.

Even when I write about him I can't get him out of my head, since he's so complex that I'm constantly trying to get to know him better. But... He pushes people away.

Another protagonist in the same book is necessary, but I don't like him. The more I get to know him through my writing, the more I hate his guts. And now I know that he's going to do something very very bad in time. It's also necessary for the story, but I'm worried that the reader will hate him and skip past the stuff that he goes through...


Glynis Peters said...

I have characters banging on brain's door. I have to push them back sometimes. The run your life!

Great interview, thanks for hosting, Eric.