Dianna's question for me today: Do you know what a character's going to be like when you start writing them? Or do they take on a life of their own and go their own way?
Short answer: They barge in and basically do whatever they want.
Every author writes differently. When I have a story idea and I know where in a characters lifeline and how I want to start that book off, I just sit and write. I've never actually thought about the characters voice, or the way they react because it just kinda comes to me. But that's not to say that I'm completely clueless about these characters, or rather, that I don't have a little say in who they are.
You see, it's all about the background information. What your character has been through. Where they have come from. The highs, lows and hopes of them. These are the things that help mould a character, which is basically the case for all of us. We are who we are because of what we have been through and how we have been brought up.
For example, Heather my heroine from Cranberry Blood (Book 1 in The Blood Series) was the first character I ever conjured or wrote. Now, the Heather you have met in the published version is nothing like the original. She is tougher, sarcastic, a little bitter, stubborn, kinda suicidal in the way she throws herself into her ridiculous situation, but she is accepting of that. She literally mocks trouble as it stands in her face, and comes up laughing after it punches her.
Why? Because her life is beyond messed up. I don't want to go into details, but Heather has the type of life that you really couldn't write about. ;-p The girl is messed up from her family line, to the family legacy, to the way she was born and the conditions in which she was born, to her somewhat isolated and strict childhood, to the fact that she is constantly fight a losing battle every day, not to mention she slays vampires, no biggie.
Everything that she is and everything she knows has made her who she is. So, I helped unearth her past. I connected the dots and lay them on the table. I have the key points of what needs to and has to happen in this ongoing story of hers, but she is the one driving it all forward, taking the lead and being herself.
The original Heather . . . she was weaker, clueless, trustworthy, shallow, and basically way out of her depth and there is nothing wrong with that, because that is a character who has a lot of room for growth. But the reason that the original was that way was because I as an author had pushed to hard to create a character to fit with this story; a story which only half worked. (As you can imagine the story was changed quite a bit and now we have the updated version.) I tried to take complete control of her and it was backfiring. I learnt my lesson, and I no longer do that. I don't create a character and then try and fit them in to a story idea I have. (I know how mad that sounds, but hey, I was new to writing.)
Now when I have an idea I just think about it, I leave it to grow, and the characters come to me, which is how it should be.
Owen for example. My Scottish Werewolf and lead of my book She-Wolf (The Blood Series Prequel), he was not happy that I had gone and wrote Heather and Brendan's story before his. He literally barged into my head when I was in the middle of working on another book, and he didn't leave me alone. Owen is an alpha through and through and he brought all of that. I had no say in who he was, just in the history of his pack and all their connections. He is a stubborn one, but I have to admit Owen is one of my fave characters, and I really cant wait to get back to him and the rest of the characters in The Blood Series.
On that note, I would just like to say that the publishers who had these books have closed their doors and I have the rights back for both She-Wolf and Cranberry Blood. (I did do an announcement on my blog, but it doesn't seem fair mentioning these books without pointing out that they are currently unavailable for purchase.) I intend to start edits/tweaking in November and my aim is to have them republished early 2014 while I work on the long awaited sequel. Heather is already prodding my brain with her sword. Needless to say she will be taking the reins the moment I allow her too. Let's hope she's not too mad at me. ;-P
Happy Monday! x