Monday, July 11, 2011

Writing About Writing, Days 9 and 10

9. How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.

This question kind of amuses me because I don't think I've ever consciously created a character. They have this interesting tendency to show up in my head, fully formed and with complete histories, although they don't necessarily tell me everything about themselves right away. But I don't maintain that I create them at all. I don't feel like I decide who they are or what their personalities are like. They tell me what they want me to know.

To give an example, the protagonist of my novel-in-progress is a guy I call Gabe. He came about because of something my friend Dawn told her friends, about how she was late to work due to a traffic jam caused by a terrible train accident. I tried to imagine how that might have looked...but as I saw the scene in my mind, I saw a person standing there, a tall blond boy in a trenchcoat. It made no sense. And then as I looked at him, I realized who he was and why he was looking at the accident scene, and everything fell into place.

Between ourselves, it was a little freaky.

10. What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Everything from serious canon scenes to meme questions counts!

Haha. I actually lampshaded this in one of my fanfictions, when I had Tom Sawyer comment to his friends, "Is it me or are our lives getting progressively weirder?"

Some of the time when weird things happen, it's my doing. But more often, it's just that the characters themselves have told me that something weird is happening. In the fic series where I used that question, the narrator stopped talking in the middle of one of her diary entries - in the middle of a sentence in fact - and then it turned out that she'd had to leave off writing abruptly because of an explosion down the hall. Until the very end of the story, I did not know who had caused the explosion or for what reason. They simply didn't feel it was necessary for me to know until it was time to tell the readers, I guess.

Probably my favorite weird situation that I invented myself was in one of my Fullmetal Alchemist stories, in which series protagonist Edward Elric planned to get married only to have his friend, the ruler of another country, decide to crash the wedding and thus turn the whole thing into something of an international incident. It was crazy, it was silly, and it was so much fun to write.

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