Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blog Chain Time: Character Journeys

It's that time again! BLOG CHAIN TIME! :)

Sandra starts us off this round by asking this question:

What kind of journeys do your characters make? What effects do they have on the characters and the plot? Also, if you wish, please tell us about one of your personal journeys and how it changed you.

Please check out the awesome Cole who answered before me, and make sure to stop by and read Kate's answer tomorrow!

This is a really interesting set of questions, and some that would definitely take more than one post to go in depth on. The journey of a novel's characters is one of the most important things to me both as a reader and a writer. Everyone is shaped by profound events in their lives, and watching those changes occur is what makes a story interesting. How will the characters react to different situations? Will they make good choices? Will they stay true to their values? Will they crack under the strain? These questions create delicious tension!

I like to torture my characters :).

Like Kat said in the comments on Cole's post, the more shizna that people go through, the greater their triumph when they come out the other side. My family (like many others) has gone through some serious poo during my lifetime. I've learned that there are certain ways that people react to horrible circumstances: they can choose to thrive or choose to give up. I've felt the victory of going through the darkness, coming out the other side and thriving my ass off.

The thing is, no matter how well people triumph over evil or adversity, there are always scars.
I want my characters to suffer and see what choices they make, but I also don't want it to be 100% happily ever after. Everyone has to make sacrifices, and everyone has memories that change them and linger throughout their lives. It's what makes us human, and I think, what makes a character's redemption beautiful.

The ways people deal with the pain of living just makes the joys that much sweeter, and the characters' lives that much richer.

How do you think about your character's journeys, as either a reader or a writer?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Michelle McLean said...

"The ways people deal with the pain of living just makes the joys that much sweeter, and the characters' lives that much richer."

One of my characters says something very similar to this in my current book. I just edited that chapter today LOL

Excellent post!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great post! I love my tortured characters as well. They're way more fun to write.

christine said...

Oh yeah...I am all about the torture - as any of my crit mates will tell you!

Badass Geek said...

Interesting. I've thought about this many times, and it's important to remember when writing to let the characters develop in their own way.

Rebecca Knight said...

I'm glad this makes sense, and that I'm not just a sicko ;). Or at least if I am, I'm not alone.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

I like what you said about things not being 100% happily ever after - that is really insightful and interesting! Often a bittersweet ending can be more satisfying one that one that is too neat and tidy.

B.J. Anderson said...

Wow, awesome post! So very true. You have to live a little to learn stuff.

ElanaJ said...

I love this. Sometimes I refer to people as "young" because they just don't get it. They just haven't experienced life yet. I was "young" once too. But since then, I have gone through some hard stuff that made me "older".

So that's how I think of my characters. As "old" or "young" based on what they've had to deal with in their lives. And hopefully, they get "older" throughout the book.

Lisa and Laura said...

Yeah, we've definitely put our characters through hell and back. I do like happy endings in books, but I agree they need to be realistic. Sometimes happiness doesn't mean getting everything you want wrapped up in neat little package, you know?

Cole Gibsen said...

Great post! I think you make an important point. Our characters have to grow - and growing through pain - now that's fun!
(Except when you have to room with a stripper. There is NO fun in that.)

Mandy said...

I think that the addage "if you don't laugh, you'll cry" means a lot and it sounds like you've made choices that resulted in a happier, more fulfilled you. Great post Rebecca!

Eric said...

Great post. It's awesome that you make your characters "pay" for their success. It's very true that we don't ever come out of a journey unchanged, and we always have to make some choice, sacrifice something in the process.

Rebecca Knight said...

I totally agree that when everything is 100% buttoned up and there aren't any consequences for bad choices, I get frustrated w/ book endings :P.

Also, great point about laughing about the bad times. When bad stuff happens you can either become a crack addict... or learn to have a sense of humor about life ;). I chose humor. Crack's expensive.

Kat Harris said...

Pray not for an easy life, but the strength of character to make it through.

Awesome post!

Sarah Bromley said...

"The thing is, no matter how well people triumph over evil or adversity, there are always scars." I like this line and find it very true. Great post and I'm sorry my comment's late.