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September 12, 2012


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When you feel that you are discovering characters as people, with inner secrets, ambitions, loves and hates, I think that you are actually creating them from assorted fragments of memory collected from both the real world and fictional worlds to which you have been exposed. The creative skill comes from the way that the fragments are pieced together and that can reveal a lot about the author as a person. Your villains will reveal what you hate in people and your hero and heroine will reveal aspects that you admire and to which you aspire.

If as a thought experiment, you imagine that your memory is wiped clean and you start life as an author with a clean slate, and have to create characters from a mental void, I imagine you might come up with a story about a woman struggling to find herself, to find her roots and identity.

I think I'm trying to say that the story that comes to you is in a way a reflection of the inner you. It may be a pale reflection, distorted and filtered, but it contains the essence of you and the way that you see the world.

So if a reader chooses, he can learn a great deal about an author from reading their fiction. By publishing you are in a way exposing yourself, rather like a patient on a psychologists couch.

Of course I could be totally wrong and the story simply wafts into your mind from the aether. But even then the way that you tell the story also reveals a lot.

So far I really like and admire what I see.

Please keep the creative cauldron bubbling Donna! *smile*

Mae Clair

Characters are the best part of a story. I agree with you, Donna, that it's always intriguing learning bits and pieces about them as you write and they surrender those secrets. Sometimes they offer up total surprises and I always love those moments of discovery (even if it does involve rewriting what-came-before, LOL).

Fun post!

Donna Cummings

Q, I swear it feels like my memory is wiped clean on a daily basis! LOL You're definitely right about an author exposing themselves via their writing, and that was one of the fears I had to overcome before I could start writing my books. Now I don't really think about it anymore, since the characters form themselves behind the scenes, and the stories DO seem to waft into my mind from some mysterious place. :)

I'll keep the creative cauldron bubbling over! Thanks for the admiration too. :)

Donna Cummings

Mae, characters are always my fave part of a story, when I'm writing OR reading. They can be delightful and maddening, but they're what keeps me coming back, even if I'm visiting them with a big eraser in my hand. LOL


lol wonderful post. This morning my character told me something astounding but she's leaving it up to me how to incorporate it into the plot. She constantly tells me stuff, mostly idle chit chat that I can't use. Two other characters are very private. I ended up sitting them down and forecing me to tell their story. They finally did but I need more. I swear I talk to my characters more than to "real" people

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