Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Fricassee

Hello, tribe!

Thanks to those of you who left feedback for our Tense Change Challenge this week.  Admittedly, response was pretty low.  It's a busy time, though -- lots of people on vacation and whatnot.  Still, I wish the participating authors had received more feedback.  If we do this again, I promise not to schedule it during prime vacation month!

Here's my question of the day:  WHY--and I seriously mean WHY--do you think our characters feel SO VERY REAL to us while we write?

I know it's universal among writers.  We all feel a strong connection to our characters, and they evoke real emotions in us (and hopefully for our readers).  But WHY?  Why is it SO VERY PRONOUNCED?

I am revising something right now that's been a part of my life for years, and has undergone some big-time changes.  But the characters have remained who they always have been, and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.  It's almost a physical ache.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!  The comment box is open--come on in and grab a cup of coffee or a cold drink.  I know you've got a few things to say about this!

10 comments:

  1. Much more than flesh of our flesh, our characters are creations of our mind; and unlike our physical children, we don't have to feed, clothe, teach, and nurture them. They exist in our heads, not in the world. They don't grow up and move away, or get into trouble, and despite what we may do to them in our stories, they will be with us until we die. I think we feel so close to our characters because, in a very real sense, THEY ARE US.

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  2. I agree with Suzanne. Our characters are a part of us. Our children may contain physical parts of us, but our characters contain parts of our souls. (Also, we can control their actions better than we can control our children :D)

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  3. For me, I find I insert lots of my own experiences, struggles, and thoughts. So I might write about a man, but his ideas may reflect mine. I also think it's a natural state for humans to live in the reality in their heads. Think about all the people out of touch with reality (such as terrorist, religious fanatics, even political extremists) who believe they know the truth. There's a touch of that in all of our minds.

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  4. If our characters aren't real to us, they won't be real to our readers. When I write I visualize my characters acting out scenes in my head. To us writer types they are as real as anyone. I don't know if this answers your question but I imagine it's the same for actors. You have to become your character in order to make it "real."

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  5. The offspring of my imagination--how could I not be attached?

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  6. If I'm working on a project I really like, the characters become a part of me. I love them deeply because they represent some facet of myself or a quality I admire. And they have all the adventures I'll never be able to have!

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  7. There are characters I love and characters I don't. When I write literary fiction I am less likely to "love" the character and more likely to be immersed in their hurt and hopes. I love my characters when I write genre fiction probably because as Cam July says I have come to realize that they are aspects of my personality that remain somewhat suppressed because of my life circumstances, so one character may represent my real desire to be rebellious and defiant but I am not that in real life because other concerns bind me not to be. Still, sometimes, a voice comes, and that voice is something that isn't me at all, and it's like being possessed. I don't know what that is, but I do read a lot about brain science, and it seems that both writers and scientists are puzzled by this. Some say that prolific writers in the zone are only a half breath away from psychosis in terms of the brain areas that we activate. While writers who are blocked have a tendency to be in the "neurosis" zone. Figure that.

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  8. My latest novel that I'm polishing now and getting ready to pitch, my character is very like me - I did that because I wanted to write about my emotional journey in the martial arts class that I've been taking. In one scene, I wrote about her fighting off a guy who was trying to rape someone. The technicality of the scene doesn't really matter much, but a week or so after I wrote that scene, I was walking alone at night around my neighborhood. Even though I've always been afraid of doing that, that night as I walked, I thought to myself, "I don't have a reason to be scared. I've fought a bad guy off!" only to realize that I really hadn't, but my character had.

    Mine might be an interesting case, but really, I think it's what other people have said. The characters are so much a part of us, and I would also argue (maybe agree with some of you) that every character I write has an aspect that I also have, but may not always show, or ever show, to other people. So in that way, they are all very much a real part of me.

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  9. I echo everyone else when I say it's because they are our babies. Literally, our mind babies.

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  10. Off topic.... There used to be a list of agent and editor blogs to the right. Is it permanently removed? Or am I just unable to see it for some reason?

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