The last time I posted about my creative writing endeavors, I went over the plot of the book I’m currently working on. Or I should say I revealed what I am comfortable revealing. I am still a little paranoid, I admit it, but not without good reason. After all, if I reveal too much, who will want to read it? You’ll have read it already! Not to mention the mighty bugaboo of someone coming along and stealing my idea. Not likely, I know…but still possible…! Anyway, for those who missed it that can all be found here…
I like to think its a fairly unique idea. Maybe not completely so, I’m not so vain as to think that no one could possibly have thought or written anything like it. However, it is my own take on it from my mind so its got its own flair, so to speak.
The characters are another factor that make these books so individual. I have to admit that characters and dialog are my stronger suits. Where I struggle is actually with the plot. I have a plot line…but keeping it moving, keeping it active, keeping it exciting is where I have to work the hardest. Don’t worry…I’m working on it! Its a fantasy genre novel, so I know I have a certain standard of action to meet. Not maybe as hard as a SciFi novel, but right up there.
I also have some minor struggles with description. I have to admit, I have a tendency to skip over large amounts of text when I am reading. I know its really well done and all that…the author has taken pains to immerse me in this world, relaying all those minute details of ambiance and character description. It just bores me to tears, honestly. I don’t care if the lead is six-foot-four. I might care if he’s seven-foot-three; that would be an interesting detail that would make him…well stand out. (Sorry about that.) Whether someone is blond haired and blue eyed is sort of irrelevant unless it has something to do with the character…and I find authors throw a lot of unnecessary detail in. Well, unnecessary to me. I think most people enjoy it. Thus my struggle.
But that’s not what I wanted to post about today. Today…its all about my favorite subject, the characters. This is where my two worlds most certainly collide; reality and fiction.
I can’t help it. Maybe because this is the first creative writing I’ve done in 20 years or so, maybe because its just the way I am, but the 2 main characters from this book have an awful lot of me in them, and an awful lot of my life. They aren’t me, per se. Just facets of me…me from a certain moment in time…from a certain angle. There are differences, big differences, but I’m inside their heads a little too much.
In one way, this is very therapeutic. In another its terribly dangerous. Because this is what is going to hurt the most when the rejection slips start coming in. When you put too much of yourself into any art, the rejection is excruciating. I think I’m ready for it, but…well, we’ll see when we get there, won’t we?
To you, my friends, I will reveal some of these characters. There are a lot of them, actually…although only 2 primary and 4 secondary or so in the first book. I’ve got way more background than necessary on a lot of the secondary and even tertiary characters because I have every intention of continuing this on into at least 2 more books chronologically and probably a handful of parallel books as well. After all, if I’m going to all the trouble of building this world, I might as well play there for awhile!
I’m going to begin by sharing with you the first of the primary characters. By the way, the names of the characters have been fairly well thought out…but may change. There’s a couple I’m very attached to and a couple that have never quite settled right with me. I’ll get to that though…
I’ll begin with the youngest because right now she’s the first to appear in the book. That may change, too…
Miriam Hope White. She prefers to be called “Hope” although her parents refuse to do so. Her mom’s name is “Mary,” and this is how she came to be named “Little Mary.” Yes, her mom is that kind of woman. In fact, Hope has been raised in a very closed-minded, repressive, controlling kind of Bible-thumping household in a just east of nowhere bumblef*ck town. In the first scene with Hope, Mary’s taking her to her high school graduation rehearsal. She has two brothers; Mark and Luke. Yeah…it’s that kind of house. I would have used John and Matthew but I’m using Jonny elsewhere (although that may be changed) and Matthew has RL connotations so I try to avoid it.
When I was trying to figure out her name, I knew that her first name would be Miriam…but the middle name, the one she would use…that I wrestled with. I figured her parents would use one of those old-fasioned Puritan kind of names so I came up with a list; Prudence I couldn’t use (Charmed reference), Faith I couldn’t use (sis-in-law’s middle name as well as my neice’s), and there are far too many Graces in media already. This left me with Patience and Hope, and a few that sounded more like Hippy names than Puritan. I chose Hope. It seemed to fit both her character and the plotline of the book better.
Hope isn’t like her parents, she doesn’t fit in. Her mind and heart are far too open. She has a craving for knowledge and sneaks out to libraries and bookstores at every chance. She has an inclination toward Wicca although she’s had no way to pursue it given her circumstances. Her best friend is Cassie, a Lutheran girl that her parents don’t approve of although she is Christian…she’s not the right kind of Christian. Her parents have planned Hope’s future out, packing Hope off to attend the same conservative Christian college as her older brother with the anticipation she’ll get a nice Mrs. degree.
Hope has other plans.
Hope is in many ways “young me.” My upbringing was conservative but not quite as bad as hers. Ok, nowhere near as bad as hers. She came about as a combination of my own experience and something my mom said to me once. Since my hubby and I have no children, when I was lamenting about this once and my fears of the future, my mom suggested my brother’s children might seek us out and become closer. My brother isn’t by any means a Conservative Christian like Hope’s family. Far from it. But I have estranged cousins that my family hasn’t been in contact with for 20 years or so. Cousins who married brothers and joined a very, very, very conservative…no, cult-like…Church. And so Hope’s family was born.
Her background gives me a naiveté to play with, a fresh perspective, an “outsiders” look at what is going on. Everything is new to Hope.
Of course I yank her out of this closed up, narrow-minded world and throw her into the crazy, frantic, big-city, metaphysical world of her Aunt.