Let the Character Speak

So I got to go to lunch with some Author Incognito friends. Note: I”m not gonna refer to them “peeps” for two reasons. 1: It’s too trendy. I try to avoid trendy as much as I can. 2: I think it’s a lame word. Note #2: If I ever use the word peeps to refer to friends/colleagues/associates, refer me to this blog. Mocking myself is one of my favorite past-times just above mocking others. Note #3: I may use “tweeps” without seeking this kind of retribution as it is an official term canonized by the Twitter gods.

Anyway, before this lunch, I had a nice conversation with Christie and Ali. Hmmm…did I call them the right names? I don’t know, I met like 10 people I’ve only interacted with online. Anyway, I’m off-topic (yeah, like that’s news). Ali and I were discussing how being weird is a good thing. We were talking about how authors can interact with each other and say things like “My character was telling me to do this” and have the people around us think “So you obey the voices in your head?” Yes, we’re weird. And dang proud of it!

So, I’ve been rewriting Eli as I’ve mentioned before. Currently, I’m titling it Eli the Thief. I have to say, after Graham had inferred that calling it Eli and the Amethyst seemed wrong and having a conversation with Elana who thought Eli the Thief sounded a lot cooler, I’m going with that for now.

In this book that has had a few rewrites, I’ve kept the same characters but put them through different trials (well, except Eli.) This time, though, one of my minor characters who first appeared near the end the first time I wrote it now appears in the middle. This means that my minor character is in the story more. The first few times I wrote the book, this character was mild, timid, and shy. Not a bad thing. It worked for her. But that didn’t work anymore. This character told me (she did!) that she was more outspoken and daring. She first appears in a chapter and has no lines. Her following appearance she has a few lines. But even better, she has a sword fight with a Gnome in defense of Eli who got knocked down. Later, instead of shying away from Eli, who did rescue her as well, this character is fairly flirtatious and bold. She definitely has made this story more YA and less MG. (That’s Young Adult and Middle-Grade for those that still don’t know.)

Now, I don’t intend to put sex in my books. I’m not that type of guy. Also, I don’t want to use much harsh language. However, this character who Eli is infatuated with, insinuates that her captors tried to rape her. (in my story, they didn’t. That’s bordering an adult story.) And the reason they didn’t is that this chica (yeah, that just sounded fun to say) has been fencing for a few years along with taking different early martial arts classes. She states that she can defend herself just fine. And she’s proven it. The Gnomes left her alone after three of them ended up with broken legs and arms. Wouldn’t you?

What’s my point with this? Well, my characters do speak to me…a lot. Eli did this a lot the very first time I wrote the book. Originally, Eli was going to willingly go to Arrassnel (the world my book takes place.) But instead, I saw him stealing the amethyst that granted such a power. It just made sense. And it still does. That’s not changing. I just need to rework it some so that his motivation still makes sense to his action.

There are others way that my characters speak to me. These are just a few examples and I really like these examples. You can’t ask an author why he/she may think one way or how he/she came up with an idea (I can answer the how, but only sometimes.) Getting into an author’s head isn’t something you’d want to do. Just read one of my favorite Phoebe quotes from Friends:

Chandler: [about the guy who bought the engagement ring Chandler had chosen] All right, where was he going?
Phoebe: Yeah, it’s a restaurant, it’s… the Rainbow something.
Chandler: Rainbow Room?
Phoebe: No.
Chandler: Rainbow Grill?
Phoebe: No.
Chandler: Somewhere over the…?
Phoebe: L’Espace.
Chandler: Rainbow L’Espace!
Phoebe: No, no. Just L’Espace.
Chandler: [thinking] I would love to know how you got from Rainbow to L’Espace.
Phoebe: No, you wouldn’t. You don’t want to get in here
[points to her head]

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

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