You are now entering the world of my thoughts.

This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Write Kind of Relationship.

I learned recently, without a shadow of a doubt, there is a relationship between a writer and his/her characters. This relationship is all about compromise. At least it is for my and my characters. All this time, I thought I was the head honcho, the queen of the roost, the one who called all the shots and scene calls. Ha! Shows how much I know about the wonderful world of writing. My characters have a way of getting what they want and when they want without me being the wiser.

When I begin a story, it usually starts off as an idea, a whim or from an experience that happened in my daily life. After the idea, I jot down a brief (very brief) paragraph of what the story will be about and then from there, the story sort of takes off. Most of the time, I get from a to b without too many problems from my characters. But I guess sometimes they get restless and start trying to take over my story. But they do it in a very sneaky way, with hints, whispers and some times outright mutiny! For example, I have my story all plotted out and have a certain scene planned but as I get to the climax, my characters just don’t go with the flow. Now, more often than not, I love the direction they take my story. To give them credit, they are often subtle in their take-over, which is probably why I never see it coming! AND, they never brag how they made my story better or ever try to take credit. So, I always think I created a fun/great/wonderful story.

And then there are those times when a story seeks me out. Now these characters are usually less subtle than the others. They have a story they want to tell and they hardly ever take no for an answer and they make sure I understand that. Again, don’t get me wrong; they aren’t arrogant, just determined. I don’t get these intrusions on a regular basis (thank God!), as you will understand from the example I give below.

A couple nights ago, I got home really late from a lecture. I checked my email, ate a little snack, said my prayers and went to bed. Just as I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths and thanked God for the wonderful day (and week) he blessed me with, I began to hear a soft voice, the voice of a character trying to tell a story. I was so tired and had no energy to hear another story that night (heard quite a few good ones at the lecture J) so I tried to hush the story-teller. “Go away,” I try to tell her, “We can discuss your story tomorrow.” As docile as many of my characters are, they can be a bit intrusive and annoying when I am trying to sleep! They don’t like being hushed, ignored or pushed away. When they have a story, they want my full, undivided attention right away. Because let’s face it, my memory is not what it used to be. I have been known to forget my promise of “writing their stories in the morning,” upon waking up the next day. I am forgetful and they know it! You have no idea how bad I would feel for forgetting their stories and breaking a promise. So the voice of the story-teller got louder. Then this young woman holding a baby appeared in my thoughts. I was not going to get any sleep any time soon. Between looks of hurt, fear and desperation, she forced me to listen to her. She convinced me her story was important and demanded my attention. That and she made it clear she was not leaving until her voice was heard. So I cut out a deal with her just as her baby started to get fussy and her eyes dilated as she focused on something behind me. The deal was, I jot some notes to help me remember her story and she would leave (with her strange baby) and let me sleep. She seemed a little hesitant at first but seeing as I was half sleep and getting more tired, she agreed. I really needed my pillow but I got up with my pen and paper and wrote down about two paragraphs. So this is what I got from her…(remember, I was half sleep when I jotted this all down!)

Hida’s home world is ravaged by INFANTry Wars. The government is using the brains of infants to hide secret codes of war and destruction. Recently widowed, Hida finds that everywhere she goes with her infant, death and destruction follows them. She is not sure what is going on but she senses a dark presence around her family and home, especially after she comes home one day to find her father unconscious and her home ransacked and burning. Her father’s secret lab had been set on fire when the intruders did not find what they were looking for. Hida’s nightmare all started after her husband mysteriously died after he defected from the oppressive and corrupt military of the Cyberbotic League and her baby went missing for two days only to be returned to her unharmed. The daughter of a disposed government scientist and the wife of a defector, Hida is on the run. Someone is after them. She has many times caught the glimpse of a shadowy figure following her. But the scary thing is, wherever she goes, there is an explosion of cataclysmic results. Trails of death seem to lay in their wake. City after city she runs with her family barely staying ten steps ahead of the secret forces after her. She receives help from the underground, rebels fighting for justice and eradication of the cyberbotics, intelligent robots used to replace human government and military officials and soldiers. But as their hideouts are being wiped out, the rebels begin to suspect Hida and her family. Soon she is running from the rebels who think she is a spy and the Cyberbotics who want her infant and what is contained in her baby’s brain, secrets that could tip the tide of war in their favor.

Well, that is what I can remember of that evening. She left and I got my much-needed sleep. I am actually rather lucky. My characters are quite reasonable and easy to work with. Our relationship is all about helping, cooperation, respect and compromise. That is what makes us great together. (Unless of course they are determined to keep me awake at night! :/ )

So tell me, what kind of relationship do you have with YOUR characters? :)

Happy Writing!


Maryam said...

All I can say is WOW. Your plot seems like a NYT best-seller. Work on it, that's the point of having characters haunting you.

To me, all this plot formation happens in my dreams and I'm a dreamer; only good thing is, I still remember how vivid it felt like being in my character's shoes hence the easy capturing of emptions happens later on. What happens in the next chapters however is something unknown and foreign to me. My characters' behaviours help me a lot in figuring out what to write next.

I guess the best part of getting a story on paper is how passionate and attached are to you to be the voice of yet-to-be characters.

I love your writings and your blog. Keep updating and I'd make sure to be regular follower and commenter.

Ms Saba (aka Teacher007.5) said...

Thank you Kitten :) I will definitely work on this story. I am really interested in Hida and her story. It full of mystery and adventure, two things I really love!

Karen Strong said...

I'm really feeling the plot of this story! Definitely something that I would like to read!

My relationship is growing deeper with my characters. Like you, I form an idea and it festers in my mind a bit.

I know that my story is maturing when I hear the "voices." This usually happens in the late hours of the night between 10pm and 1 am. This is usually when I'm most productive!

What I'm learning now is that I tend to want to "protect" my characters and really I should let them go into those danger spots and not make it so easy for them to get out.

Member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators