Thursday, January 11, 2007

Birthing A Character

It occured to me while in the shower that writing is very much like giving birth and raising a child.
A writer gives birth to characters by deciding what they will look like, how they will respond to certain situations, their likes and dislikes, their habits (good and bad) and where they will live. As the story progresses, the characters define themselves by interactions with others.
Just like my sons.
The characters define their personalities, figure out what kind of morals they have and how they will be remembered; all by responding to stimuli and interacting with others.
Just like our kids.
Writing a novel stays with you, for better or worse; just like children. You have to decide how to live with your creation once it's published and has an ISBN. Sometimes you aren't so proud of a certain passage, other times you hang on to a section that you can barely believe came from you. Some folks want to keep going; create these new lives again and again.
Sounds a lot like parenthood to me.

I've been giving thought to reworking a couple of old stories, tweaking and adding on; renovating them I suppose. I've been checking out markets while I do this, and one of my favourites, I see, does not take submissions widely available on the web. Hmm. Well, I can understand that. As a reader, I don't want leftovers. I want something new and fresh.
So if I want to submit to that market, I need something with a strong female protagonist. No problem there, I write those anyway. If I were an editor, I would want to read a piece that's going to change the way I think about my day. A piece that makes me stop and FEEL something.
Okay, strong female lead.
A story that makes a difference.
And then I realize, I don't have a single piece that fits that bill that has NOT been seen before.

Back to the drawing board, or in this case, the keyboard.

I owe, I owe, so it's off to work I go.
More later.