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Playing Catsup, Again–Month Long Writing MeMe

May 14, 2010

So, let’s catch up on the meme.

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

My characters have always shown up, fully formed, ready to spring from brain to page like Athena to Olympus, and I’m a lazy enough writer that I rarely do much with them afterwards (besides asking them questions as I’m writing. . . I have a terrible habit of typing away with the characters looking over my shoulder, adding their own commentary). I’m trying to think of someone that’s gone through a lot of iterations, and nothing’s coming to me.

I do have one character, Rae, that I can persuade to do double-duty in stories where I need a placeholder. She belongs in the great universe-building epic, but tragedy struck before she felt she’d accumulated enough page time, and she started popping up with offers to moonlight.

“Hmm,” I’d say, “I really need an antagonist here. This story is due in my writing class tomorrow, and my villians are feeling So Pastede On, Yay!”

“I can be a villian,” Rae would volunteer.

“It’s not your universe, Rae,” I would patiently respond. “Also, you’re dead.”

Rae did not find this argument persuasive, a personality quirk that I’ve always felt led to her untimely demise in the first place.

“I see horses,” she would respond. “Our universe has horses, and I’m sure I can handle them. How hard could it be to ride a horse? Also, I spent months listening to Madac and Kieran laugh maniacally. I just bring that up an octave and throw in some shifty eyes. Boom! Instant Evil!Rae. Also, you won’t fail school and resort to living in a cave on a hillside, herding goats. You know you hate goat’s milk, Ali.”

She had a point.

So, in the interest of academic utilitarianism, I let Rae do her best villian impersonation and hoped my prof wouldn’t be able to tell. In one of our prouder moments, I got an “excellent character development” note back on that scene. Rae insisted on wearing a “evil red cape” for weeks. She has a slight tendency to be insufferable.

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

Oh, this is a fun question! I hope my characters can do it justice! (And I just got told that we’re going to the band concert in a minute, so I’ll have to throw this answer up and get ready to run out the door.)

Let’s see. . . I told you about Wes getting naked in the locker room–that was an adventure and entailed a call to Lizzie to figure out how to handle it.

Kieran kept coming back from the dead–he’s in the universe-building monstrosity, and is actually the first character I’ve ever had go through Major Freakin’ Trauma. His death was key to the story, since it was a precipitating event for multiple story arcs and had a really cool effect on the development of another character that I was interested to explore (this was the first original story that I really put much effort in to as an adult, was working on some darker themes, and was kind of intrigued to take these characters–who all grew up together and were intensely interdependent–through the proverbial wringer). So I killed him, went about my business, and a couple weeks later he shows up in a tavern being all creepy-bad-guy. I’m all, “Um, excuse me? Hello?” And he’s all, “I know things of which you know naught.” And then I was, “Dude–a)it’s my story, and b)you don’t talk like that and c)what, you couldn’t call first?”

The little brat’s response was, “Like it’s my fault you didn’t create phones.”

Thank goodness Kieran and Rae only barely know each other.

What else?

Not strictly my characters, but hijinks are involved. Lizzie has a really, really good Harry Potter fanfic called Legacy’s Fall. It’s one of my favorites and I love it and hate that she refuses to finish it, because I beta’d it for her and would really enjoy seeing some of the projections we sketched out get written.

That said–

There was a point in the work where the characters went a little AWOL on her, or she got busy with Real Life and ignored them, or something–this was several years ago, and the details have gotten fuzzy with time–but for whatever reason, the universe was not unfolding itself the way it felt it ought.

Me, I was working in the rinks at the time, and wrestling with my own demons (or Kieran, as it were, ’cause it was around the same time), and trying to pretend to be a grown-up at least 30% of the time. I’ve always been ambitious.

Anyway, I’m sitting there working on some skating school flyers with every semblence of professionalism when out of BLOODY NOWHERE Ginny Weasley just starts chattering at me. I tried to ignore her, schizophrenia not being such a popular thing at work and all, and Draco freakin’ starts in on me.

Not gonna lie. . . I picked up the phone, dialed Liz, and demanded she get her characters out of my head.

On that note, off to the North Hall Band Extravaganza!

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