Week Twenty-One: Creating Characters and Connecting with Writers

May 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

May 28, 2012

Read
“ . . . the writer’s original perception of a character or characters may be as erroneous as the reader’s.” —Stephen King, On Writing

Just reading about how King came up with the idea for Carrie is harrowing. He described two downtrodden, outcast girls he remembered from his school days that he drew from to create the character of Carrie. It reminded me of an incident from my own childhood. A quiet and unassuming boy showed up at school one day with a new haircut and new clothes. The smile on his face and the bounce in his step showed he felt pretty spiffy. Until a boy and a girl sat at his table, surrounding him, and, right there in the classroom, picked on him until he started crying.  I will never forget that. I admit I have seen the movie Carrie but never read the book. I started it and couldn’t get past that opening shower scene as only King can write it. It was just too awful.

On a brighter note, I stared reading Fly Me to the Moon by Alyson Noël. One of the published authors at the LERA meeting recommended reading a lot of books in one’s chosen genre when re-writing, so . . .

Write
I finished typing the second draft. I didn’t even have to get out the ACE bandages. Yay!

Now for the rewrites. Help! The serious work begins. Four different writing experts, including Kirt Hickman (Revising Fiction) and Doug Eboch (Sweet Home Alabama) say you must write bios for all your main characters. Now I can’t believe I didn’t do this before; I thought I knew my characters pretty well and didn’t have to. But they have also changed over the course of two drafts and now it’s clear there are a lot of inconsistencies. Completing the character bios will fix all that, and guess what? It takes forever! I spent two hours figuring out the hero’s astrological sign. Good thing, too, because her original birthday, that I had come up with to suit the plot, was totally the wrong sign for her.

Alyson Noel and Me at Alamosa Books

Bliss
I went to Alyson Noël’s book signing for her Soul Seekers series at Alamosa Books last Tuesday. Book signings are a golden opportunity to talk to and get great advice from stars: published writers! Alyson Noël talked to us one-on-one as if it were a given that we would be successful writers. When I told her I had just finished the second draft and that I was now beginning the process of making it tight and publishable, she said to enjoy that process now that I have the time. Because when I start having deadlines and am going crazy, I will look back on this stage of my life fondly.

Duly noted.

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