Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Fricassee

I am hunched--literally--on the hearth, a crackling fire at my back.  To say "I hate winter" is to state the obvious.  Is to become a living cliché.  But, oh.  I have to say it, anyway.

Seriously.  Humans weren't meant for weather like this.  I don't know how people survive in Minnesota and North Dakota and and and Canada.  I bow to you all.

I'm too cold to think.  Which is making it rather difficult to produce this blog post!

(Yes, Winter Princes and Princesses--sneer at me if you will.  I readily admit to being a wimp.  You already know that I wear jodimitts* all day as soon as the temperatures dip below 55 or so.  Today I need an entire bodymitt.)

At any rate, I do want to mention how much I enjoyed your comments last week.  When you share your hearts, your passions, your this-makes-me-ticks, I feel like I'm being given a sacred glimpse into each of your lives.  This isn't something to take lightly.  There is a rich tapestry of life callings and talents and joys here!  We are all so much more than "writers".

I'm thinking that, if we were all stranded on one very large island, we would not only survive--we would thrive.  (As long as the daily temperatures hovered in the 70s.)

I think we would sit around lovely campfires at night and talk about our stories.  And our characters.  Especially our characters.  Because we love them, right?  They're pretty darn real.

So I'm wondering--why do you think that is?  Why are the make-believe people we've created so very ALIVE to us?  Why do we smile when we think about them?  Cry when we kill them off?  Squeal with delight when someone else loves them?

(You know you love your characters.  Don't even pretend you don't.)

Since we're all cozy around our fires, now's the time to share your most intimate writer-love: your characters.  Go on.  I'm listening!

* Or an unreasonable facsimile thereof.  Because THIS:

I know.  I must have acid skin.  And Jodi is in a dither because, in my panic to stay warm, I bought myself a pair of acrylic fingerless mitts.  But they are pretty.  Even if they are imposters.

(See?  Pretty.  And they match my coat-of-many-colors.  My pinkies sort of get stuck when I type--clearly these were not fashioned by a writer.  Nevertheless.  My hands are warm.  And Jodi still loves me.)


  1. I have a stash of fingerless gloves--office, car, several colors and thicknesses. Those and scarves and Cuddle Duds get me though the winter.

  2. We're attached to our characters because they're parts of us, the authors. Perhaps the parts we like, hate, are ashamed of, or feel proud of. We can put these characters on the page and make them overcome the hurdles we couldn't, suffer pains we didn't think we were strong enough to endure, take chances we would never dare to. And while we watch these pieces of ourselves live in our created world, it makes us face who we truly are and realize who we wish to be.

  3. Turns out children the world over had it right all along- It's perfectly natural to have imaginary friends ;)

  4. I think we're attached to them because they help us sort out the world, and because in some sense, they are real, somewhere else--maybe not in this world, but they're real sparks and sequences of neurons, and our identities are really just sparks and sequences of neurons with bodies around them, so honestly, they're not as unreal as all that, are they?

  5. I believe we are attached to our characters because many of them have a little part of us in them. Many of the characters that I have written about either human or creatures of the forest all have some traits of family, friends or foes in their identities and soul. As I started to write about my characters, the more I wrote, the more they became a part of me and took me to places beyond anything I could imagine.

  6. First I have to say that you reminded me that I've wanted fingerless gloves -- soft flexible ones that would be suitable for typing -- for years! (I have RSI issues in my hands from too many years of typing and ten-key, and I think it would feel better if I kept them warm.)

    But most of the ones I've seen are the bulky wool ones intended for outdoor activities, and I have such small hands I don't think that would work very well -- though it might make for some interesting typing errors! So I think that's lovely that Jodi makes mitts with writers in mind. (Your 'imposters' are cute, too -- gotta love the color. :)

    As far as loving your characters -- oh, absolutely! I'll readily admit to that. And I have so many books that I conceived of when I was just a kid, there are many characters who've been part of my life for most of my life. Also, as others have said, it's inevitable that we incorporate parts of ourselves and the people around us into our characters.

    Since my stories are always character-driven, with a strong emphasis on the protagonists' psychological experiences, those characters are fully developed and three-dimensional -- they're not abstract figures. And of course I know their thoughts and experiences intimately -- so in that sense they're like friends who confide everything in me!

    So I'm sure it makes me sound like a 'batty' eccentric writer, but some of my characters are probably more real to me than a lot of people I've encountered in the 'real world.' ;)

  7. I'm always cold. Always. Winter just means I'm more cold.

    Zara Penney

  8. I just had a character spring full-blown into my consciousness last night (and she wouldn't get out, until I drew her and wrote down about 8 scenarios for her!) She's like me, but of course, different, in that she has "qualities" that make her vent all MY frustrations for me, because she's experiencing them, as well. She's going back years for me, already. I absolutely adore her. I can't imagine life without her, now, really.

  9. Because the characters are like our babies, our brain children. They are extensions of who we are, our ideas, our thoughts, etc. They are precious because we made them. They are ours and we are theirs, even if they are imaginary.

  10. I love my characters and in fact I'm surrounded by them daily. Then again I did take many traits from my family and morphed them into my characters. And by the way I, like my nephilim characters, hate the cold too! For more about my cold hating, sticky handed, soda burping, hot dog hiding boys check out Mason Davis and the Rise of the Storm Makers. Available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.

  11. I like what Jocelyn and zolosolo said. For my first ms, the story came first, or at least the idea of the story. As my mind gnawed on the idea the characters have changed and developed and then taken the story in places I didn't think it would least not originally.

    Then as I challenged myself to write more, I tried to develop an MC character opposite of my first. Could I do it? Over time and lots of staring at the wall with great music playing, the character, her talents, flaws and motivations became more corporeal.

    A few more manuscripts are in the back of my head, trying to be born, and the characters within them are growing and becoming more "real". Lots of fun!!!

  12. I love my characters because, too often, they're who I would love to be. Granted, me being that person would often require magic, considerably more bravery, and the occasional disregard for my own safety and well-being, but still. The chance to be them for a while, to live those other lives while I write them down, it makes everything worth it.

  13. Sorry, not all of Canada is cold... here in Vancouver, I'm walking my dog in a t-shirt and my barefoot shoes.

    yes, pants too... :)