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 Relating to your characters

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Al Stevens
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Al Stevens

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

Relating to your characters Empty
PostSubject: Relating to your characters   Relating to your characters EmptyMon Sep 13, 2010 11:47 am

This is about fiction:

Do you ever find yourself getting emotionally involved with your characters?

I have two scenes in which my protagonist as a boy gets into a fight to defend his foster father and later loses his foster parents in an accident. I find myself reacting emotionally when I write such scenes and then later when I reread them. I also catch myself getting angry at some of the conflict in the story.

These aren't real people. This isn't real conflict. Do I need to see a shrink? Am I getting too close to this work?
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

Number of posts : 12624
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: Relating to your characters   Relating to your characters EmptyMon Sep 13, 2010 12:22 pm

Some of my writing makes me cry. My mother read the poem I posted on the Chatter Box board. She said, "I'm not going to read any more, it's making me cry." She wanted to read the poem after the book was published -- sitting alone so that she could have a good cry!

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Relating to your characters 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ Relating to your characters 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ Relating to your characters 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ Relating to your characters 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ Relating to your characters 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ Relating to your characters 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins


Last edited by Shelagh on Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Re: Relating to your characters   Relating to your characters EmptyMon Sep 13, 2010 10:50 pm

Al,
Getting emotionally involved with the characters signifies a good story. Writing also allows one to express hidden emotions.
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Carol Troestler
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Carol Troestler

Number of posts : 3827
Registration date : 2008-06-07
Age : 81
Location : Wisconsin

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PostSubject: Re: Relating to your characters   Relating to your characters EmptyTue Sep 14, 2010 5:16 am

I agree with Abe.
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alj
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alj

Number of posts : 9633
Registration date : 2008-12-05
Age : 76
Location : San Antonio

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PostSubject: Re: Relating to your characters   Relating to your characters EmptyTue Sep 14, 2010 5:35 am

The characters we create, being our creations, always have something of us in them. Like our dreams, they are an expression of something from our own lives and history. Carl Jung might say that the villains come from our Shadow, our Dark Side, and the heroes from our personae and higher Selves. Characters of the opposite sex carry much of what Jung called our anima/animus. Their struggles are ours. Of course we get involved. Writing fiction is one of the best ways for us to confront ourselves and get psychological release from our inner angst.

It's part of how writing is therapy to many of us.

Ann
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dkchristi
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dkchristi

Number of posts : 8594
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Relating to your characters   Relating to your characters EmptyTue Sep 14, 2010 8:21 am

I sobbed so hard writing Ghost Orchid that the pages were wet. I sobbed when I read the proofs. I sobbed when I read the first published copy in my hands. I sob when I read it at events. Yet, the story is full of a spiritual joy for which I feel comforted.

But then, I sob at Lady and the Tramp - still. I cried through one of the stories in Betty Faisig's Wooffer.

Funny, I never had an emotional response to any part of Arirang: The Bamboo Connection. I wanted to know what was happening next...but felt removed from the events.

I think perhaps it was my own connection to the ghost orchid flower, its mesmerizing affect on me, that released me to experience her story as it flowed from my pen.
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

Number of posts : 12624
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: Relating to your characters   Relating to your characters EmptyTue Sep 14, 2010 8:43 am

You made me think, DK. As you often do! Maybe it has more to do with our state of mind at the time of writing. Not the closeness of our own feelings to those expressed by our characters, but our own state of melancholy, sadness, anger or joy.

_________________
Relating to your characters 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ Relating to your characters 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ Relating to your characters 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ Relating to your characters 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ Relating to your characters 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ Relating to your characters 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
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dkchristi
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dkchristi

Number of posts : 8594
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Relating to your characters   Relating to your characters EmptyTue Sep 14, 2010 2:03 pm

I think you are on to something, Shelagh. Every time I sing, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me" at church my eyes fill with tears. Every time. I am so disappointed in the range of pettiness and anger people express with each other that it gives me little hope for world peace. The song is not emotional - yet, it taps into my own hunger for serenity.

Thus, writing a book about a ghost orchid with seeming mystical powers to resolve long-standing familily estrangement, reveal secrets and heal hearts taps into my own raw emotions regarding life's challenges.
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LC
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LC

Number of posts : 5044
Registration date : 2009-03-28

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PostSubject: Re: Relating to your characters   Relating to your characters EmptyWed Sep 15, 2010 2:26 pm

dkchristi wrote:
Every time. I am so disappointed in the range of pettiness and anger people express with each other that it gives me little hope for world peace.

Lack of conflict makes a book boring. It would make life boring, too. If no one was ever petty or angry, wars would start out of boredom.
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dkchristi
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dkchristi

Number of posts : 8594
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Relating to your characters   Relating to your characters EmptyThu Sep 16, 2010 10:35 am

It is true that it is the conflicts, emotional and physical, that draw us to an author's work.
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dkchristi
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dkchristi

Number of posts : 8594
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Relating to your characters   Relating to your characters EmptyThu Sep 16, 2010 10:36 am

I remember being told that a story format for success is as follows:

Life is good. Something terrible happens. A hero arrives. The situation is corrected. Life becomes good again; everyone lives happily ever after.
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Al Stevens
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Al Stevens

Number of posts : 1727
Registration date : 2010-05-11
Location : Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Relating to your characters   Relating to your characters EmptyThu Sep 16, 2010 11:23 am

That reminds me of the formula for writing a play.

Act I: Run the hero up a tree.
Acv II: Throw rocks at him.
Act III: Let him down from the tree.
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