Posts Tagged 'Characters'

Inspiration.

I just finished Mockingjay a couple of nights ago, even though rightfully I should have been doing homework instead of plowing my way through one of the most impressive series I’ve ever read.  I could fill this post with spoilers, but I’m not going to; I’d rather have people actually go read the trilogy.  I’ve actually been pushing it in the general direction of a lot of people.  Most of these people – to their own loss – have been ignoring me.

The writing style really struck me as I read the trilogy.  At first, I didn’t like it.  It was first person.  It wasn’t first person present, though, so I didn’t hate it.  I got over my frustration with that pretty quickly, though.  I began to notice the setting and the characters.  The descriptions weren’t too much, though.  They were enough.  Enough to spark my imagination.  Collins said “electric fence” and from there I created the interior of the coal-mining town that was District 12.  She described the clothes that Katniss was wearing, but only when it was important and related to Cinna.  It wasn’t over-detailed, like some aspiring authors do, and it’s wasn’t brand specific (it couldn’t be, of course).  Nobody could feel out-of-the-loop about her descriptions.  I think that’s really important.

Her plot was mind blowing.  I keep saying “it’s just a distopia book” and it is… but at the same time, it isn’t.  I really want to go back and re-evaluate ‘Tweens now.  I want to look at my characters and make sure they’re flawed.  I want to describe more.  I want to pinpoint specific references to popular culture and eliminate them.

I want to make my stories very real.  Fantasy enough that the reader can step out of them, but real enough so they cannot forget.

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Deviant Artist Self-Photo (not me)

Let me set the scene for you.

The air inside the cabin is dank and musty, and you feel your allergies acting up, so you step outside on to the rough wood porch overlooking rolling fields.  The sun is just creeping up behind the farthest green hill, and the sky is splattered in pink and blue.  You’re not alone on the porch, even though it’s just barely sunrise.  But you’re not surprised.

Leaning against the dipped wood rail, her hands are wrapped tight around the bone china teacup.  She doesn’t say anything to you; just flicks her short red hair over her shoulder and takes a sip.  It’s a little strange, seeing an experienced army pilot watching the sunrise and drinking herbal tea from a cup painted with dainty yellow flowers.

Meet Jylouna Martin.

She is my nemesis.

For the last I-don’t-know-how-many-weeks I have been fighting a silent battle with her.  I avoid writing in her perspective because she simply disapproves of it.  Just.  Can’t.  Get.  Into.  Her.  Voice.  Ever. I love her character (I love all my characters) but whenever I read back what I have written I feel like crumbling up a piece of paper and throwing it violently at… something.  Only I write on my computer, and it’s harder to crumble my laptop screen.

I was pacing back and forth in my room when I reopened Chapter Four of Fate for editing.  Partially because Jyla was up to her old “you’re-going-to-write-in-my-voice?–I-think-not” tricks, but my difficulties were also coming from a different character:  Timothy Brown.  Since my goal is to finish ‘Tweens by the end of the year, I’ve been writing, even thinking a lot in Timmy’s voice.  So as I was trying to write Jyla, I was writing Timmy.  Editing is slow.

Ever have that problem?  A character voice you have a lot of trouble writing in?  What is your greatest difficulty when switching efforts from one work-in-progress to another?

Also, I wanted to share this.  I know I’m three months early, but I just discovered the band All Caps and I thought maybe some people could relate to the sentiment of this video.

Flash Fiction Thursdays: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

"Guilty Until Proven Innocent"

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

As she blinked, red dots splattered across her vision from the interrogator’s lights.  Jyla kept her hands clasped to her sides.  Her interrogator faced the steel wall.  Jyla chewed on her bottom lip and watched him, waiting for him to move, listening for his breathing; waiting for any sign of her interrogator’s humanity.

“Where were you first taken?” he asked a voice like snake.

“Borderlands,” Jyla responded immediately.  Her instruments were destroyed when her aircraft ignited, so she had no way of giving more details.  Her interrogator did not turn to face her.  Instead, he stood in motionless silence.  It made her skin crawl.

“Where.”

“My instruments were destroyed in the fire that took my Mosquito.”

“Where are the ruins of the aircraft.”

“I told you, Sir, I don’t know exact coordinates.”

Her interrogator stepped forward and placed a white gloved hand against the wall.  The outline of a door carved itself in the metal.  “That is not good enough,” he told her, and exited.

Even after he left, Jylouna did not move.  She knew the walls were mirrors, and people were watching in.  She suspected that the King’s Men thought that she had betrayed the King and given her aircraft to rebels hiding in the forest.  And even though she knew these allegations were false, she had no way to prove it.

.

Author’s Note:
Seeing an upcoming deadline, I’ve switched from working on ‘Tweens to editing chapter four of Fate.  The character here, Jylouna (Jie-L’ow-Nuh) is the character whose voice I speak in for that chapter, but she is also my most difficult character to write.  I’ve been having difficulty getting back into her head.  Please let me know if this is flat or feels forced.
Much love,
Amber


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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