Friday, December 3, 2010

Fantastic Friday - For Many Reasons!

Today is another edition of Fantastic Friday Writers! I invite your to check out my Fantastic Friday Writers partners - Elizabeth Mueller, Anastasia V. Pergakis, J. D. Brown, and Deirdra Eden Coppel - for their take on this subject. And I’m sure they will all be delighted I came up with more than one paragraph this time!

How do you connect with your MC on a personal level?

The easiest thing would be to create a character similar to me. I think I know myself fairly well! Instead, I created Byron, and while he shares a couple of my traits, he’s very different. Yeah, smart move! Now, how do I relate to this guy?

Connecting with a character implies you have to know them – well. I liken it to making a new friend. We start with facts, then opinions, and then feelings. We take it in layers, like an onion. Guess Shrek was right!

With Byron, I had to discover and embrace his background. What led him to where the story begins? Everything that happened in his past had an impact on his life. I watched him develop as a person. It helped me to understand who he was and why he chose his path. I began to see things from his point of view.

I think that’s where I connected. Byron became real. No, not like the Velveteen Rabbit or anything! He gained dimension. I could feel his frustrations, struggles, and drive to succeed. I respected his desire for privacy and often annoying attitude. I knew that as I wrote the story, I’d be able to properly portray his behavior, thought process, and desires. He was difficult sometimes, but I discovered I really liked Byron.

Which is good, because I’m almost done writing the sequel to CassaStar!

How do you connect with your characters?

In other news…

I won second place in Jessica’s 400 Followers giveaway! A $40 Amazon gift certificate. Thanks, Jessica!

Don’t forget - I’ve been nominated for the Best Sci-Fi Blog Award at The Movie 411! Never thought I’d be so excited about an award, but I’m currently in the lead! If you haven’t voted, please do so now. (And don’t vote twice, or both are eliminated.)

And for those of you following me on Twitter, I’m doing Stardate Christmas updates every day until Christmas! Yes, I will repost them here next week.

65 comments:

The Old Silly said...

Fun post. I connect with my MC's through personal life experience, usually ... they are composites of actual people I've met and dealt with.

Hey are we following each other on Twitter? I'm at http://twitter.com/Paize_Fiddler

Gail said...

I have no characters, except those I live with and the ones I deal with every day!

Maybe, someday...

Ellie said...

Congratulations on the prize. I'm off to vote right now!

iZombie said...

Happy Friday... I am happy cause the squirrel has not come back... oh yeah Disney's Tron: Legacy... and some freelance work.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I have to put myself on the same journey and get emotionally involved. Which means yes I do fall in love with my own characters.

Christine Danek said...

I guess I connect with my characters through experience with personal relationships. They somehow get into me, and I can feel them.
Congrats, and I'm off to vote.
Have a great weekend!

Anastasia V. Pergakis said...

Horray! More than one paragraph! Great stuff. I told my hubby I want to buy your book and he said I have to wait till Christmas! So dissapointing! But, at least I'll get to read it at all...Anyway, great post, and I'm off to vote for you! (And find you on Twitter too...)

Anne Gallagher said...

Alex, I'm halfway hrough CASSASTAR right now and I have to say, you mightily connected with Byron.

I'm not a fan of sci-fi, but I am a fan of angst and let me tell you how much I love Byron. I cried yesterday when he was sitting in Bassa's office after he found out Trindel left him. FANTASTIC stuff.
You made me cry and that's what makes a good book a GREAT book for me, so kudo's to you Alex.

You've connected with your characters, and your readers! Congrats.

DEZMOND said...

the sequel is already finished??? Well, that was quick!

Stephen Tremp said...

I connect with both my protagonist and antagonist as there are traits of me in both of them. The good guy is a little bit taller than me, a little bit smarter, a little bit better looking, faster, richer, etc than me. He's like a super me.

aspiring_x said...

ooohHHH! more stardate posts!! i love those! :)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Enjoyed the post Alex, congrats on second prize.
Yvonne.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Enjoyed the post Alex, congrats on second prize.
Yvonne.

Falen (Sarah Ahiers) said...

Yay for Friday! I'm sure you'll win that blog award

Karen Walker said...

Alex, it's such a breath of fresh air, coming to visit over here. Thanks for your continuing supportive comments on my blog.
Karen

Carol Kilgore said...

This is good. It's sort of the way I get to know my characters, too. I wish they all came to me fully formed, but it's rare when that occurs.

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

I had to think what an MC was for a minute.. I am working on a children's book.. and My main character.. is very curious. .but she does not get in to trouble like curious george.. LOl Sofia's Dream looks good.. I did not know you reviewed children's book...thanks for the idea.. I had never heard of it and you know I am the book for kids queen....
wasabi mommy

Summer Ross said...

I think connecting with my characters is one of my biggest flaws. I've been trying to improve on it though, like writing an introduction with them on my blog, it gives me something to blog about and gets me more involved in my character- though my thinking process tends to come out, I'm a thinker first, I have to have most of it down in my head before I can start in paper, then when it flows to paper, I write ideas rather than actual story or character or plot even, then I take those ideas and move them the next step forward...I do the same thing when I'm writing my thesis papers. weird huh?

Matthew Rush said...

I completely agree. I like to start with a basic idea for each character, and then "get to know them" better as the plot and story progress. The MC is easy, but the supporting characters can be a little tougher.

Monti said...

Love your description of connecting with your character. I think the author has to eventually connect or the story doesn't move ahead with character development.

Good luck in the competition! I've voted and will be careful not to do it again!

Monti
MaryMontagueSikes

Jules said...

Congrats on the Amazon card. Sorry I can't talk about my characters right now, they are leaning over my shoulder :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Arlee Bird said...

I do my best to put myself in the shoes of my MCs. Some of them have been based on me which makes it easier in some ways.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Marvin, don't know if I'd dare use someone I know!

Jeremy, remember, squirrels are squirelly!

Anastasia, thank you! Maybe that means you're getting it for Christmas...

Oh Anne, thank you! I'm thrilled you are enjoying it. And if that scene made you cry, then prepare yourself...

Dezz, not quite! Still need to finish the last couple chapters and then edit. But I am close.

Karen, you are most welcome and I'll miss your posts this month.

Wasabi, it made me think of you right away!!

Summer, not weird if it works for you!

Jules - when characters stalk!

Chris Phillips said...

Congrats of the giftcard! Now you can get me a Christmas present!

Holly Ruggiero said...

My characters start out with something I like or dislike about someone I’ve met and go from there adding bits and pieces from other people. Hey, call me Dr. Frankenstein.

Melissa Gill said...

Great points Alex. I'm currently writing a MC who is nothing like me. He's male for one, but way more than that. These are great tips. Also congrats on your award, and almost finishing your sequel. Both great accomplishments. I voted for you.

Colene Murphy said...

Hurray for your win!!

N. R. Williams said...

I love these Friday's Alex. My heroine isn't me either. She is very motivated and doesn't waste time. Ugh!
I think we could all learn something from your twitter updates. I enjoy reading them, but twitter itself is hard for me to get. I guess I don't read it enough.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think it takes me a little while to get acquainted with the character. I know I've connected when I instinctively know how they'll react to something. It helps if the character is an amalgam of different people that I know. :)

Raquel Byrnes said...

Ooh! I love the Stardate Tweets...they crack me up. Congrats on the win and the nomination...I voted so good luck!=)

I usually connect with my MC while writing their character thread...I do a free write biography and just try to get in their head.

Once I feel I know them, the conflicts they face feel real and I try to go about the story based on what it seems like they would do...rather than how I would react.

Happy Friday!
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Charles Gramlich said...

I have pretend conversations with my characters quite a lot. Around a campfire or as if I met them at an inn. It helps with their philosophy on life.

The Golden Eagle said...

I think about my characters when I'm not writing; I usually end up spinning together scenes that I'll never put in the draft, and watching them interact beyond the story. When I get back to writing, I'll know more about their personality, and how they react.

Elana Johnson said...

Off to vote! Thanks for the reminder.

And I relate to my characters through the emotional. I may not be them, they may not think or act or talk the way I do, but they can feel. I can project anger on to them. Sadness. Grief. Happiness.

The trick is to stay in character and have them react in the right way as I project those feelings onto them.

Hart Johnson said...

I'm a psychologist by education, so I typically connect through their relationships with each other and their motivations. (fears, experiences, too--though often I assign the experiences in order to explain a characteristic I want them to have). Once I've got the basics, I assign a consistent birthday and use astrology to fill in the micro details in my head--that is strictly a trick to keep myself consistent because it has been a long hobby so I know those really well.

Old Kitty said...

What a great way to connect to your character!!!!

I guess I have different strands of me or what I'd like to be with all my characters!! Spooky!!

Shrek was so right!! Take care
x

Nate Wilson said...

How do I connect with my main characters? With my fist.

I'm kidding, of course; I use a baseball bat. It's easier on the knuckles.

Nicki Elson said...

I just voted and you are still holding strong in the #1 slot.

Glad you & Bryon became friends - sounds like an effective approach to character building.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Yay for the Stardate tweets. They always make me smile.

How do I connect with my characters? I think writing in first person makes it a bit easier, but I tend to connect with them in an emotional way.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Chris, what would you like?

Thanks, Melissa! One of the main characters in my current project is a woman and she's a challenge.

Nancy I don't get it either, but decided to have some fun with it.

Thanks, Raquel!

Charles, that would be an interesting story in of itself!

Thanks, Elana!

Hart, I imagine you come up with some really great characters with that background!

Yeah Nate, otherwise you'd just hurt yourself.

Thanks, Nicki!

Tessa Conte said...

congrats on the nomination! *runs off to vote*

I've posted a review of CassaStar on my blog, if you wanna read it over. If I made any mistakes, let me know!

BTW I just saw on amazon that there's only ONE copy of CassaStar left!!! Congrats!!!

Copyboy said...

Again your post is chock full of writing insight. Love it. And congrats for being in the lead. Guess my vote counted for something. I'm off to check out your writing friends. :)

notesfromnadir said...

I like how you write about creating your characters because you obviously connect very well w/ Byron.

I'm happy you're so far along in your sequel!

Laura Eno said...

I'm quite fond of Byron myself, so I'd say you did a good job! I could understand why he was the way he was from the backstory you wove in.
Yay for Star Trek updates and you've got a great lead in the votes!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tessa - I am just so blown away by that review. Almost speechless. Thank you.

Thanks, Notes!

Laura, I am so pleased you liked him.

Sweet Cheeks said...

Now that the kids are grown...I am seriously writing for the first time in my life. I have a love/hate relationship with my characters. Alas, they have a mind of their own and I obey their wishes (a.k.a. ridiculous demands.)
=]
p.s.
Thanks for visiting my corner of the blog world, Alex. You are always welcome there!

Yakoi said...

Awesome Friday news! Voted for you and grats on 2nd place!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Congrats on your prize. I hope you win the blog award.

M Pax said...

Good luck on winning!

I write a description of my MC's [and other's] personal space and their closet. Then I write them a lexicon. Then I slip into their shoes. WW MC D? I think about it before I go to sleep and when I wake up. Then I go write.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sweet Cheeks, it's tough to reel them in sometimes. And sorry I don't visit more often!

Thanks, Yakoi!

Susan, I really do, too!

M Pax, I'm often sleeping on my ideas and planning out scenes first thing in the morning as well.

Jai Joshi said...

I get to know my characters really well before I write a thing. Especially my MC. I do character profiles where I ask not just questions about what they look like and how old they are but about their hopes, their dreams, what drives them, what they're most afraid of, what experience in their life moved them the most, what their faith is or isn't, what their greatest weakness is and also what their greatest strength is. But the time I'm done figuring all that out, I know them so well it's almost easy to write from their point of view.

Jai

Milo James Fowler said...

You're right: seeing things from the character's POV is essential to understanding and relating to him/her. It's almost like we have to be FBI profilers as writers...
Write1Sub1

Lydia Kang said...

I try as much as I can to put myself in the shoes of my characters, even the minor ones and the bad guys.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Congrats on your win!! Great info on relating to your characters. I usually try to get to know their histories as well. I'm off to vote!

Abby Minard said...

I love how you connected to your character. I think we all should do that with our characters in order to get to know them better. My MC is a lot like me, but it's an ensemble cast and the other three are not so I always think about their backgstories and how they would react to certain situations to try to get to know them better. Congrats on the win!

J. D. Brown said...

Alex, I'm glad you brought up character background, that is a VERY important part of every character. I'm currently working building the background for my new WIP. I'm working on figuring out the villain's motivation. This is the first time I've struggled with it. It seems to be hidden under layers or something. Like an onion ... ;)

Pat Tillett said...

As always, lot's of good info here. Thanks! And congrats! Off to vote!

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Lol, you're right, I am impressed that you've written more than one paragraph!

I can clearly see how a character comes to life. It's so sad to know that we will NEVER come face to face and that they only exist in our own heads. *sigh*

The Shrek analogy is everywhere--I guess he made his point quite memorable, hu?

Happy weekend, Alex. I'm so relieved you approve of Alex's name. I quite like it. ;)

Congrats on your awards!

~Elizabeth :)

Cheeseboy said...

So wait, now you win awards AND gift cards. It almost doesn't seem fair.

Nice job.

Dempsey Sanders said...

very interesting how you developed your character of Byron, I enjoyed reading that. And so glad to see you doing well in the awards. Less than two weeks away now and we will know the winners, woop.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jai, I need to know a lot of that before I can write as well.

Thanks, JD. Hope you can dig through all those onion layers.

Thanks Elizabeth, on all accounts. I really tried for this one!

Ah, but I don't make music videoes!! You got me on that one, Cheeseboy.

Dempsey, feels like forever!

Clarissa Draper said...

I'm in the process of re-writing on of my novels and I realized I didn't know one of the main characters as much as I thought I did and yesterday while driving, I started delving more into his character and his world has opened up to me.

CD

Jamie Gibbs (Mithril Wisdom) said...

I like the way you handle connecting the MC's. I hear so much about people putting themselves into the MC's shoes as some form of aspiration of the kind of person they'd want to be (which brings about the accusations of Mary Sue). I much prefer your way of doing things; write as if you're the MC's friend and so the understanding and sympathy can be found.

Congrats on winning 2nd place in Jess' contest too!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Clarissa, congratulations on the breakthrough!

Thanks, Jamie. I certainly don't aspire to be Byron - too much baggage.

Karen Lange said...

Congrats on the Amazon gift card! Will hop over to 411 and vote. Hope you win!
Happy weekend,
Karen

Hannah Kincade said...

Sometimes I don't connect with my characters at all but they seem to create a life of their own and I'm entertained by them.