Friday, October 26, 2012

Characters who Change the World

The act of writing is full of questions.  There's the words on the page, then there's the questions that lurk behind them.  Every time I sit down to write, I learn more about this fun craft called story-telling, and the more I do it, the more I realize that making a story deeper is all about asking those questions - and not being afraid of the answers!

The toughest of them comes and goes, a ghost that visits on the dreariest of days.  "What difference is this going to make?"  It's a troubling question, but one that I can't neglect, and it leads to deeper ones.  "Why am I doing this?  What is this story's purpose?  Where is the value?"

Eventually, this brings me face-to-face with the characters.  Every story is full of them: good ones, bad ones, funny ones, sad ones, the ones who make you shiver, the ones who make you scream; the ones who make you turn another page, or put the book down to cry.

Characters can change the world, each in their own little way.  Us writers sit at our computers and type away, not realizing what different our words may make.  When I write, I'm committed to the story the characters show me, but it's so important to get it right, even if it takes thirty tries.

Writing is rough business.  Often times it's downright messy.  Deleted sentences, cutting and pasting, character makeovers, slaughtered darlings, if only the final book could tell the whole story of how it came to be...yet in the end, it's worth it.  The characters shines brighter and brighter and the story becomes truer and truer.

When I write, I have the wonderful opportunity to become my characters, to speak like they speak, to feel what they feel, and this, to me, is the greatest gift.  This is why I write - and this is the difference it makes; it's why I'll go through my story again and again and again and again (and again).

Graeme Brown is a fantasy author. He sold his first story to Champagne Books in July, 2012, and looks forward to its release this June. He blogs and tweets and is busy working on The Pact's sequel.


Big Mike said...

We all know they're fictional, but I fall in love with every H and H I've created.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

All true. Sometimes it's a surprise, and sometimes it hooks something in my life that I didn't realize was so important to me.

Character, ours and our other writers'. make us learn and yearn, and cry.

January Bain said...

That's why I write too! I love to become one with my characters and live their eventful lives. And the more I write the more I learn about myself and others and our place in this world.