Posted by: codecalla | August 12, 2013

Characters in Battle Royale

Sometimes I feel that I am offered a window into a world, rather than the sole creator of it.  When I press my nose against the glass, clean the fogged pane with the side of my palm, and watch the characters react to situations, I cannot help but wonder, how can I possibly show what is so absolutely awesome about this moment?  I find myself pressing closer and closer to the glass, wanting to watch longer, to become a part of the moment, only to realize, yet again, that the moment is fleeting. 

I find, that like artists, I tend to write in layers.  First I shape the action, then fill in the color of the characters, as they begin to revolve on the page, I find myself adding in emotions, and motivations, and potential crises.  The layers continue to build on top of each other until finally I have the finished image in my head.  Sometimes it’s similar enough; other times the image has changed.

Characters live and breathe for me, so when people express surprise that they behave “consistently” with their character, it’s not a surprise for me.  The bigger problem for me is learning how to twist the expectations and create truly engaging moments.  I want to not write to expectations, but to go beyond them.  I want my characters to live and breathe on the page with surprising complications and conundrums.  I want them to be far more complicated than merely following a line (or a yellow brick road) in a simplistic manner.

The layers of the character come with getting to know them.  Placing them in odd situations, asking “Well, how about this?  What would YOU do then?” and seeing what happens.  This is why I love writing.  Characters can really surprise me.  Like when they suddenly heat up a scene with romance, and I really wasn’t planning it, or perhaps a serious disagreement.  I love when they surprise me.  Already for my new novel, I’ve gotten a bit of surprise.  Frank and Damien are taking a larger role in their part, while Mai is receding a bit…and she’s my main character (so this is a bit of a problem)…oh, but do I have plans and layers to add…I may have to rethink some things, but it is Mai’s story, and Frank’s story, and Damien’s story, and Llewellyn’s story, and naturally, of course, Rolf’s story.  They are claiming their ground, and it’s going to be a bloody battle for who is at the forefront.

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