Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Have you met your characters yet?

For several years now, I’ve been on an endless search for me. Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) – teacher of yogic tradition, posed the question, Who am I? Who hears what I hear? Who sees what I see? Who feels what I feel? For me, I’ve come a little bit closer to understanding this now that I’ve fallen into Michael A. Singer’s novel The Untethered Soul. He speaks of these questions and answers them simply with, I am the one who sees; I am the one who feels; I am the one who hears. I am me. But who am ‘I’? ‘I’ live in the seat of consciousness. To know this is to attain inner freedom. I’ve learned to step back within myself and realize that I am spiritual. I am not the voices that speak incessantly within my head. I am not the thoughts that run swiftly through my mind. These voices, these thoughts, they are separate from me. They are the maniacs that share my ride – my body. Understanding this has freed me to understand that I am in control of my life. I do not have to feel beaten, abused, afraid or confused. I choose not to be a victim but a victor in this thing called life. I am, after all, ME.

What brings this post about? I’ve recently started my third novel, a psych thriller about a woman by the name of Allison Rigby who has some terrible obstacles to overcome. The reader may not see her strength at first, or even when the story is through, but if they read between the lines, if they allow themselves to hear what Allison hears, feel what she feels, see what she sees, the reader will walk away with a better understanding of who Allison ‘is’ and why she does the things she does.

The same is true for Danielle Montgomery, the female protagonist in THE CONSEQUENTIAL ELEMENT The reader may put the book down and think, “That’s not what I would have had the character do.” If that is the reader’s thought, then they misunderstand the concept of a character.

Characters are not actors or actresses. They are created by a living, breathing being to become living, breathing beings on the pages of their story. You, as the author, must get to know each one thoroughly. You must take the time to meet them, see what they see, feel what they feel, hear what they hear, taste what they taste, and touch what they touch. Become them for a day. Move through your day in their shoes; react to your environment as they would. Ask the question from their point of view – who am I? And then listen for the truth. That is the character you need to write. If you make it up, the reader will know.

Thank you for visiting. I’m glad you stopped by. Don’t forget, the eBook version of THE CONSEQUENTIAL ELEMENT iS on sale now through Thanksgiving for .99. Spread the word if you get the chance.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May it be safe, happy, and full of love.

Dee Ann