Guest Post by Brien O'Raighne
Mindset of the Character
This is something that every writer has to deal with. I don't care if you're Stephen King or Dr. Suess, every author goes through dealing with the mindset of the their characters. The hardest part about your characters is that they do not always listen to what you have in store for them. There are several things you need to remember about characters that come alive.
1. They're Alive...And that's good!
Yes. It is a very good thing when you're characters seems to jump off the page and people can relate with them. Characters ARE NOT one dimensional. To me, an author, those seem to be the most boring characters ever written. The most cherished bad guys in film are flawed and multilayered. They may seem one dimensional at the time but lets look at some prime examples. These come from some of my favorite stories.
For Example: Lord Voldemort, from the Harry Potter series, is not one dimensional. He has feelings and has flaws as well. One of his flaws is that he does not know love. His father was a cruel man who beat him and caused his mother to run away when he found out she was a witch. Upon Tom Riddle's death, Junior was sent to an orphanage where he was left to wallow in his misery.
Another Good Example: Darth Vader, a.k.a. Anakin Skywalker, an ambitious young Jedi was swayed by the dark side to gain powers to save his loved one, which wound up breaking her heart and killing her in the first place. He was redeemed by his son, Luke, when the Emperor tried to kill him. The prequels did not show Darth in his glory as Anakin, shame really. I think the story could have been stronger to represent the true young Jedi's power instead of flaunt with his faults.
2. They are people after all!
If your characters are alive, then, they are after all people. As an author, I have learned one thing about my characters being people: They rarely, if ever, follow the path I lay out for them. That's right. Characters stray from the planned path all the time. Why, do you ask? That is simple after all. You have breathed life into your characters and they are vastly forming their own mindset.
Ah yes, there it is again. The mindset of a character. The individuality.
And like people they make their own decisions.
3. Free will
If you make your characters pop off the page when writing they will seem to exhibit free will like a person does. They will choose which path they will go down and how their life will go. You WILL NOT always like the path your character chooses, write it anyways.
Free will is something that all great characters seem to have whether or not the author likes it. Most authors go through numerous rewrites of their manuscript before ever liking it. Even, then, they may not like what has become of their beloved characters. I certainly don't.
For example: I will use one of my own characters here. I have a character who traveled back in time to prevent an event and was too late because it was already prevented. In the process of writing her, she started showing bisexual tendencies. These bisexual tendencies were never planned, they just happened upon the page as I got to know her.
It's interesting how characters can show us free will, sometimes just to drive their author crazy.
If you did your job as an author, your characters will have a distinct identity. This is truly something you want to achieve. Ever character no matter how insignificant at the time should be able to show their individuality.
Every person, no matter how important they are, has their own personality. Thus, this should be the same for every character an author writes. Also, every character has a name. Does not mean that it is spoken aloud in the book or even written, but remember everybody on this world or the worlds you create has a name.
One of the most prolific writers that made this statement was George Lucas himself. Read the initial scripts to Star Wars or Empire Strikes Back, no where in there does it say Stormtrooper No. 1 or Imperial Officer No 1. There is Admiral Ozzel, TK-421, Lt. Bren Dreslin (one line) and the like. George Lucas gives a name to every character in the movie or book, no matter how much time they are seen.
5. Support your characters...
I mean support them no matter they do. Your characters ultimately come from your mind. Give them the time they deserve in the story. Let them tell you the story. All the author should do is write down what the characters tell him. Eventually, that story will be finished. Will your characters agree with one another? No. They shouldn't...unless they're drones.
Having characters that are drones are not good to have in a story. That is unless the story is about drones, then, it is a necessity.
You're story ultimately survives on the personality of your characters. Make them complex. Give them Individuality. Let them exhibit their free will. They will show you a story worth telling.
When you do the editing will your characters show you a new wrinkle or two. Sure. It's okay. Let the story flow how it is supposed to. If you start and write from an outline, DO NOT be afraid to let it change and morph over time. IT WILL HAPPEN. LET IT!
Rewrites happen for a reason and editing is necessary to keep your book in check. This, also, allows you to find the mistakes that are throughout the story. THERE WILL BE ERRORS. Don't be afraid to change or remove material from your story.
The more alive your characters seem, the better your fans and readers will relate to them. No every home is a happy home. Not every home is wrought with chaos. There has to be a mix of the good, the bad, the ugly within every home, within every story. Let your characters show you.
Title: The Starshot Chronicles: Royal Pains
Author: Brien O'Raighne
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Length: 185 pages
Release Date: October 2014
Synopsis: Douglas and Querilla spend the day together in harmony. But that is not to be. The princess gets abducted. Douglas has to save her. That is only the beginning of a journey that takes them to other planets and finding out familial history.
Meanwhile, a revolution is happening on Varia where the Varians are trying to free themselves from the tyranny of the Coaltion.
My name is Brien O’Raighne and I hail from Houston, Texas. I love to write. It is a passion of mine. Some would say an obsession, but those don’t really support me when they call it an obsession.
My writing usually combines my influences of Epic Fantasy, Sci-Fi Sagas, Paranormal, Classic Horror monsters, Superheroes and more. With what I like movie wise it would be hard for most people to understand some of my major influences in writing.
My influences include: J.K. Rowling, E.B. White, Homer, William Shakespeare, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Chris Claremont, Lara Hama, Margaret Weis, Tracey Hickman, J Michael Strasczynski, Todd McFarlane, Scott Lobdell, Timothy Zahn, Roald Dahl, amongst others.