Thursday, June 17, 2010

Character Development - The Dark Side

We've been talking about character development and how we use our life experiences, memories and emotions to create characters who are vibrant and alive.

Let's look at developing our antagonist or dark characters.

I have to admit, I enjoy writing Tzmet (my witch) very much. She's evil in the beginning, but there's also something humorous about her. She's so vain and she speaks her mind. She holds nothing back. And I've enjoyed her character arc, as I never intended keeping her totally evil. Being a selfish person at times, I draw on my inner thoughts and desires in creating her. Am I like Tzmet? No. But there are times when I wish I could be like her without any bad consequences. HA!! Fleeting thoughts, to be sure, because I really am a nice person.

Her father, on the other hand, is totally evil. I don't get in his POV or his thoughts at all. I simply show him to be cold and and merciless. Of course, I blow him up at the end, but hey, we need a fitting end for the bad guys, don't we?

Let's talk about creating the dark side of characters.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Happy Anniversary!!

Fairies, Fantasy and Faith has been live for one year! I wasn't sure how I would like blogging, but wanted to try, and it's been great. Thanks, everyone, for taking part in the discussions! I hope you continue to stay with me.

We've been talking about developing characters. Part of character development is drawing from our own experiences and emotions. That can be hard, especially if the emotions and memories are painful. But it brings your character to life.

When I was working on Krezma, the old woman who raised my main character, Akeela, I drew on my own feelings of raising a special needs child. Akeela does not have special needs, but Krezma was forced to take her and raise her. She was in the process of trying to get back to her own daughter and was given the responsibility of a newborn baby girl. Krezma feels resentful - and feels guilty for feeling that way. She's grown to love Akeela, but she's sharp tongued and just plain mean with her. Krezma wants to do the right thing, but she also wants to get back to her plans.

I have times of resentment, too. Raising a special needs child is hard. Anna has autism and seizures. She's severly mentally retarded - at age 19, she still functions at about 18 months with some scattered older skills. I'm tired. I'm stressed. I worry all the time. But I love her and do the best I can for her. I don't treat her like Krezma treats Akeela, but I did draw on some of the emotions I have to create Krezma's character.

I've also had to revisit some old pain to bring life to Akeela. She was okay, but not as interesting or three dimensional as Tzmet (the witch.) I needed to bring Akeela up to Tzmet's strong character. It was hard to relive the feelings I had with the memories, but Akeela is vibrant and alive now. Totally worth the pain.

How do you handle the hard, painful emotions sometimes needed to create characters who are truly alive?