Saturday, September 25, 2010

Doorways and Darrion

The Beast has finally been named. This morning I just felt in a naming kind of mood and turned my attention to my main Work in Progress.  

Quite a few names occurred to me, but they didn't seem to fit. So... I thought about recurring themes or objects in my story. And there it was. The name makes perfect sense. Doorways.

Except for the fact that doors in a literal sense appear often in my writing (no, I mean differently from going into rooms), doors also have a special significance to me.

These past few years have been all about doors opening on opportunities and closing on my past and wrong directions. There are many doors opening to me and I feel somewhat lost as to which choice to make.

It's exactly the same with my characters. They are all very different, but they have doorways (making choices) in common.

James has to decide if he will step up. Ward must decide if he will tell the truth. Darrion must choose between loyalty and ambition. Gawain must choose sides. Callan must decide who she wants to become.

Everyone has an important decision. And every decision has an impact on others.

As you might notice from my short summery of the characters, there's a lot of story to get down - with a lot of voices.

So I decided to take Bish Denham's advice and hold interviews with each character. And immediately ran into a challenge. 

I started last night at 22:00. Darrion insisted on being first - despite my wanting to start with Ward. What can I say? The fiend is stubborn.

You'd think that he'd be chatty. You'd be wrong. Getting information from him is like pulling teeth.

Think I'm kidding?

Question 1:

Me: Tell me about your childhood.
Him: No
Me: Come on. I need to know.
Him: Did I stutter?

More to and fro arguing and negotiating followed and I gave up without knowing anything. And so it goes on. I'm currently taking a break before I decide to write him a terrible death at the end.

I can't start an interview with anyone else, because his lordship won't move his butt out of my mind. So here I am, letting him stew while I entertain myself with other things. Maybe he'll be more talkative later...

Doubtful. Highly doubtful.

Sigh. I guess it sounds nuts, but I find it quite insightful, since I'm getting to know him outside of the context of the story. Even his reticence gives me insight into who he is, but he'll never hear it from me...

How do you get to know your characters? Have anyone ever tried to get to know a character, only to have him/her push you back with every effort you make?


  1. Hi Misha! I so love love love this! I love that you talk to your characters as well! I'm not alone, LOL. I like Doorways. I also like the names Gawain and Darrion. I've got the name Darvi in my novel. I thought of using Darren, which sounds like Darrion, but changed my mind. I've got a thing with names as well, to the point that I bought two books on baby names which give them meanings and I also look names up on the internet, LOL, I'm mad on names! When it feels right, after spending days thinking about it, then that's when I settle. Lovely post! I'm a new friend - nice to meet you :) I'm now a follower too! :)

  2. hey new friend!

    I'm glad you like the names.

    I love the name Darvi.

    And I have to stop myself all the time from buying more baby name books. I use them all the time. I have one in particular that has over 20000 names and variations.

    Usually, characters stroll into my head and introduce themselves. I struggle to write until I have names for my MCs. I almost named the fiend Darren too, until he snorted at the sound of it and asked:

    "Do I LOOK like a Darren to you?"

    So I asked what his name was.
    "Darrion," he said, "You should pay attention more."

    The rest is history. I can't even begin to imagine him with another name.

    How did you get to Darvi and why?

    Hope to chat soon!


  3. Good luck getting your character to open up to you and share - although I think his lack of response speaks volumes about his character already. If you can imply that, this character will be golden.

    Also, I love the title Doorways :)

  4. Thanks :-)

    Yes, he's all about what he doesn't say. Facinating, but diabolically difficult.

    I did get him to open a little more, but he kept a lot to his chest.

    In the end, he decided that he told me enough and left.

    Strange strange character.

    I'm glad you like the title too. After all, it isn't as much whether I like it as much as whether people will like it enough to pick up the book.

    Have a great Saturday!

  5. I have never even considered getting to know one’s own characters in these terms, and now I’m left wondering how I know mine at all. I love the idea of interviewing them! Genius, total genius. I might give it a try.
    The enigmatic, masked blogger strikes again

  6. I'm sure a lot of my characters would stonewall me. :P A lot of them would just give me a look that says "Please. You expect me to answer that?" and the I would start thinking about how to stage their terrible deaths. LOL.

  7. The Blogger Formerly Known As,

    I would definitely suggest it. At first I thought I was insane, but after interviewing Callan (the second character to pitch up), I found that I hardly knew any of them.

    See, Darrion was the one that walked into my head and told me to write. I've basically been writing in his perception of their voices.

    It's little wonder that I lost who they were so often...

    Golden Eagle,

    That sounds scarily like Darrion. ;-)

    In the end it turned into a verbal sparring session.

    He still kept a lot back, but what he gave was enough to get me thinking. That and what he refused to say.

    If I feel like unnecessary cruelty to my characters, I take a break. I let Darrion stew for a few hours. I was shocked at how well it works...

    Thank you both for checking out my blog and commenting :-)

  8. I love talking about my character's with other people. I have interviews with others about my characters while in the shower or dressing for the day (of course, I interview with invisible/imaginary people) and when my character disagrees with my assessment of them, they step in and slap me.


  9. I like Doorways. It's great finding the right title.

    As for getting into character, I just think about my characters a lot, sort of like building scenes in the character's life, even if I don't write them.

  10. Clarissa, it's so insightful doing the interviews that I know that I'll do it again later, just to see where each of them are emotionally at that point of the story.

    I'm just really glad that I don't have slappy characters. Two of them are half-elvish, so I can't imagine they slap lightly... ;-P

    Theresa, I do that too, but I find that it doesn't always help me to hear their distinct voices.

    I'm glad you like the title :-)

    Thank you both for stopping by and commenting!

  11. bleh... I read my comment again and picked up the wrong usage of the word insightful.

    I meant that interviewing them gives me many insights, not that I was incredibly clever to start doing it. Maybe I was ;-) but that's another story...

  12. Instead of talking to my characters myself I'll put them in a room with another character that I know well (usually Kindra, or Mikayla because she's nicer) and have them talk to each other. I freak my new characters out. They don't understand me yet. They feel comfortable with all these other strangers that are in the same position as them, though, and they will open up to them. May take a while, but a comfy cafe with a fireplace and hot chocolate usually does the trick. (Although this stubborn character of yours might need some sort of torture chamber to get anything out of him :P)

  13. sticky that is an awsome idea!

    When I'm done with my interviews with the last two, I might put them in the same room and see how they interact.

    I just hope that they don't come to fisticuffs.

    Three of them really don't get along...

    The stubborn one especially doesn't do well with disrespect. James is a bit arrogant for his own good. I can see a beeeg problem there...


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