Posts Tagged With: character

Sticking to Your Guns

I took a hit. A bad one. I feel slightly crippled, and the hurt runs deep, but as with all things I know it’ll subside with time. The human heart has a way of forgetting this kind of hurt in order to move forward. I keep telling myself I won’t regret my decision either because as they say, nothing ventured nothing gained. Sometimes when you put yourself out there you fail. And that’s okay. The most important thing to take into consideration is how you feel about your decision, and I feel proud of myself. You’re probably wondering what happened, so I received my final revision back on my second story and my mark dropped over 10%. I lost 3 letter grades. I cried. The last thread that gave a shit about the class broke. I laid awake for hours thinking about it. And the conclusion is pretty simple.

I re-wrote my story because I felt the first one was out of character for my character. I think the second story (and I will still post it) is much more “Melissa” than the first one. In fact, I think all the characters are more of who they actually are, so can I really be disappointed with that? In my last post I said it was more important to be my own authorial self than to make the grade. If I have to write my characters out of character just to get an A can I really call myself a storyteller? If I can’t even be true to who my characters are, then how can I be proud of anything I write? Because it’s my characters who are trusting me with their story. I can’t lie and say they did something else. That’s not how it works.

So I’m sticking to my guns, and reconsidering continuing fiction in school. I mean, at the end I get a BFA no matter what, and honestly Stageplay was fun. It made me feel like a storyteller again. I had freedom of expression. I could write and have fun with it. And I mean, who DOESN’T want to see their characters come alive on stage? My life is changing again. I won’t quit fiction. It’s still my first love, and I am determined to become an author, but I want to write in an environment where creative expression is encouraged and not discouraged. I am proud of myself. I’m proud that my characters are more important to me than a letter grade.

~Kat

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Character

Looking up the definition for “Character” it simply states “A fictional person”. Everyone KNOWS this, but somehow it resonated with me. This is certainly not conducive to studying for my writing final, which I should be doing right now, but to simply state Character as a fictional person seems so… wrong, even though that’s what they are. They aren’t real, not in this physical realm of the five senses at least.

I can have whole conversations with characters, trying to flesh them out and find out who they are and they become intimate beings, separate but inherently part of me. They are not me, I cannot control them, they make their own decisions, have their own thoughts, fears, dreams, wants, needs. In the sense of what make people, people, they are all those things, but their bodies do not have flesh and bone in a literal sense, they are but words on a page.

A character is not real. But to me, the solitary writer, most days, they are my only friends.

~Kat

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That moment of realization

When you’re reading a scene from your book and seeing it with fresh eyes; with new eyes. I have this heavy scene later on in my book and for the longest time I only saw it from my main characters POV. Which makes sense because I’m writing it from First Person so when you read it, it’s strictly Alice’s viewpoint and how she interprets what’s happening, but tonight as I was reading it I saw it through the other characters eyes. And as I’m reading this scene through Dawson’s eyes I’m feeling more and more horrible.

I never really thought about it before, but tonight I saw. How Alice looked, what she was wearing, how her wet hair clung to her face, the turmoil of emotions in her eyes as they argued and how hard it was for Dawson. How badly he wanted to grab her and take her into his arms and he couldn’t. He could see the pain he was inflicting, had to watch her walk away and how much it absolutely killed him to do so.

And I felt like I had failed him as an author. I’m supposed to be in all of their heads, I’m the one who is capturing all of this and I missed it. Like Alice only saw her pain and what she felt, I missed his pain and what he felt. I felt terrible about it. I always had such a hard time getting inside Dawson’s mind, and really figuring out who is, but tonight I feel like I have a whole new understanding into his feelings and how things affect him. It makes me excited for future things.

Am I totally weird to feel bad about this? It made me actually reconsider writing my book in first person. I want the other characters to have a voice too, but I like how connected you are to Alice when its her POV. I have a lot of things to think about now. The more I flesh out my characters, the more I want to share whats in their head, but maybe I’m the only one who will ever know.

~Kat

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Am I good enough to be published?

There comes a time in every writer’s life where you have to ask yourself the question “Am I good enough to be published?”. When I first started writing my book I read an article that made me really nervous because it asked this question. At the time my answer was “I don’t know” because I honestly wasn’t sure if anyone would want to read or care about what I was writing. Today when I sat down to finalize chapter 13 I asked myself this question again and I realized my answer had changed. Am I good enough to be published? I say yes. I think that’s the first step in getting published, because if you don’t think you’re good enough to be published, how are you going to convince someone else that you are? The first step is seeing your own talent and bringing your passion to life.

Obviously there is more to getting published than just self-confidence, but I think it definitely goes a long way when you are trying to sell someone your story, because in essence that is what you are doing. You are going to someone who doesn’t know you, who doesn’t care how long you slaved over your final draft, and saying “Buy my product, spend thousands of dollars to produce and market it and hopefully you’ll get a return on it.” You need convince them that your story is worth selling. That if they don’t take the chance on you, they are going to regret it later.

You need to resolve with yourself that no matter how many rejection letters you get, someone is going to see your story like you do, it is going to come alive to them like it does for you and they are going to give you a chance. The thing I like about editing my own work is that I can be brutally honest with myself and not get offended about it. I can look at a piece of dialogue and say “Kat, this is a piece of shit, you need to re-write it.” Maybe that seems a little harsh, but I can’t tell you how many notes I’ve made that are like “Shit, shit, bullshit, re-write” etc because I want my manuscript to be the best it can be. I want to catch all those typo’s, I want to catch all those long sentence, all those blocky and choppy scenes that could flow nicer.

When I send my manuscript to a publisher I want it to be so easy to read, that they will not want to put it down. One chapter will flow into the next, until they are half way through the book and they are wondering where the last 4hrs went. When I write, I write passionately about it and I want that passion to translate over to the reader, so when someone picks up my book they are going to care whether a character lives or dies. When I read Lord of the Rings and Frodo lost his finger, I was pissed! After everything he went through, I should have been grateful that he only lost a finger, but I was still angry that he didn’t make it out unscathed. I want my readers to care about my characters like that.

I want them to come alive. I want them to be like you and me, with their own personalities, thoughts, and reactions to things. So if someone asks me if I am good enough to be published, my answer will forever be yes. It is no longer a question of IF I get published my friends, it is now a question of WHEN. Because it is going to happen. I will be published.

~Kat

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