Saturday, June 21, 2014

Characters Taking Over? Why I say, "Oh, HELL no."

Let me speak frankly: Characters never take over. No, they don't. You may think they do, but they don't.

You invent your characters. They come out of your subconscious, your past, your present, your reading, your viewing, your imagination, your self.

When you say, "That character just sprang up out of nowhere," you're speaking figuratively. That character just sprang up out of you; the character might have come without conscious thought or planning, and you may be unable to untangle all the threads that went into the creation, but it came from you.

So, when people ask me if my characters ever take off with a story, my answer is, "Oh, HELL, no." My characters, my story, my plot line. If I find myself giving a character more dialog or business or importance than I had expected, I might or might not follow that possibility. If it seems to be working better than the possibility I had expected to follow, I'll follow the possibility that's better. If it's interesting, but not as good as my plan, I save the new bit under a different name. I can always write another story with it.

I often use Bud Blossom as an example. Bud Blossom is a character I created some years ago. Bud is of Chinese background, but is native to the American Midwest, specifically to a small town where he owns and operates a riverboat restaurant. He's abrasive and manipulative and paternalistic. The character and the story developed together, and now I can't get rid of him. If I let my characters do whatever they wanted to, I'd never write about anybody else.

Don't ask me if Bud is who I'd like to be, or if he's who I'm afraid I am, because I don't know. What I do know is that Bud is easy and fun to write, in spite of the aggravation he causes the other characters, and I haven't written the last of him. But that's up to me.

Price $0.99
It's all about Bud.
Bud Blossom, Chinese-American owner of floating dockside restaurant The Golden Lotus, is a hard man to work for, a bad man to cross, and a difficult man to befriend. This is a collection of stories--some previously published, some new--about Bud and the people into whose lives he digs his claws. Also includes "The Dragon of North 24th Street", wherein the wickedest dragon in the world learns the folly of tangling with the women where I grew up--the West End of Louisville..
Marian Allen, Author Lady

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