Friday, May 31, 2013

...slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails...

what makes you fall in love with a character? What tiny little details that the author manages to slip in makes you crazy about them? Is it the way they speak? Habitual characteristics? The particular language the author uses to describe them?

any of these things can make a person fall in love with a fictional character. It happened to me this morning, while reading the Extraordinary Adventures of Horatio Lyle, by Catherine Webb. Lyle kept putting his hands in his pockets, fumbling around with magnets and gadgets, and being constantly bashful about things. I loved him almost instantly, from his yellowy ginger head to his boot tops.

the tricky thing with this is that you never know if the trait you've given to your character is one that people will like. Brenant, who is growing to be one of my favorite characters from Liberation, reminds me of my brother, but with longer, shaggier hair. Because of this, I've drawn references to him as "coltish boy," I've referred to his hair as a "forelock, which he threw back defiantly," and he is "long legged and spry." My brother and Brenant both remind me the wild and free spirits that I see in horses, particularly young ones. But that's coming from my view. Does that mean it will endear Bren to others as much as to me? Not necessarily.

another tricky balance to this is not being too over the top. While reading the book I mentioned beforehand, I was astounded by the author's writing style. I loved it--but it overwhelmed me at times. Some metaphors were beautifully drawn, while some habits were brought up too many times. It's like walking a tightrope--delicately draw them to your beautiful character, but don't shove the information into their face repeatedly.

i guess that could be said for all manners of writing, hmm?

 a twist to all of this is that you can use the exact same formula--the tiny details, the habits, the metaphors--to make the reader dislike your character. An example of this is Finnick Odair, from the Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins. Finnick is always chewing on sugar cubes, has a reputation for being a flirt, and seems more than a little creepy/pushy. Although I grew to like him over the remainder of the book, after those first fleeting details that Suzanne Collins slipped in there, Finnick made my skin crawl.

president Snow, however, shall always creep me out...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

...mirror, mirror, on my wall...

"Be strong, brethren," shouted Tol, "be brave!" But no one listened. The old ones' creviced and pockmarked faces smoothed out as the drive to kill took over and all their earthly worries faded. I saw the heavy bloodlust in my green companions, and I knew it was showing in me as well. This would not be like the trials.
 This was something far more debased than that, far more refined."
 ~excerpt from Liberation, by Ely S. Gryate. 

meet Liberation, or Lib, as I like to call him. My latest pet project. Whom I have been neglecting poorly over these past few days.

what? Don't give me that judging look, computer screen. You'd want to take a little bit of a break after finishing two months of school in two and a half weeks, while completing the 100 for 100 challenge at Go Teen Writers. Your brain kinda freezes up after too much of strenuous exercise!

luckily, since I'm a writer, I go nuts if I break from writing for too long. There are too many colors in my thoughts for my mind to hold, too many new ideas. I have to write them down, or I shut down completely.

Liberation is unlike anything I've ever written before. I don't know what inspired it. Heck, I don't even know what exact genre it is (it's not quite fantasy...but it's not real...but it's got a little bit of science fiction...yeah, I dunno...) I've always toyed around with the "warrior" type character, but I've never really had him as my main character.

and out of all the warrior characters I've ever concocted, Arkin is the bloodthirstiest.

i think the reason why Liberation is so different is that I had finished reading The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater a few days before. The book was so unique and unlike anything I'd ever read before, it made me want to write something unlike I had ever written before. And so this tall, blond Rak'Atan named Tellarkin Kiet was born.

i'm not sure how I feel about Arkin. I love his brother, I know that for sure (isn't loving fictional characters just the best?) But Arkin hits too close to home. He's too much like me. I have a very hard time opening my mouth and talking to people, so much so you could say it's a self-inflicted disorder. I don't make friends easily. I jump to conclusions in mere instants. I live in a world full of my own imaginings, few of which ever see light of day. I just don't communicate much. And neither does Arkin. So I guess I love him, because I understand him, but I also hate him, because he shows me all the things that I know are my weaknesses. He's like my mirror.

sometimes people say writing is just putting words on a page. "You don't learn anything," they say.

i beg to differ.

from writing, you can learn so, so much about yourself--and half of the time, you don't even know you're doing it.