Me and My Characters (Caution: May Contain Spoilers)

Me and My Characters (Caution: May Contain Spoilers)

For me, my characters are one of the most important things in my life. Maybe that’s not such a good thing, but it is what it is, and I think it kind of comes with the territory.

These characters have been the one thing to remain consistent over the course of the years, and each new character that was created is something like a manifestation of each event that has taken place throughout the duration of my developing this world. While the characters may not be mimicking their real life counterparts exactly, there are certainly parallels drawn between the world of The Catalyst and the world in which I live. For example, when I decided to write a scene where Xanthippe is facing the death of a friend, I was more than likely experiencing a loss of some kind in real life as well, and this was my way of coping with it.

I can easily say I’ve had my fair share of less-than-desirable experiences, but that’s because I am no one special. I’m just an ordinary person, and there is nothing exceptional about me in any facet of my life, which led me to wonder, why should my characters escape negative experiences?

In real life, people die.

In real life, people fail.

In real life, people have their hearts broken.

In real life, there aren’t always going to be happy endings.

And that’s okay.

So, of course, I realized my characters each need to experience these things as well. They are going to have to deal with death–lots of it. They’re going to have to deal with failure–repeatedly. They’re going to have their hearts broken, they’re going to have friendships fall apart, and they’re not going to have happy endings all the time. Life is not about happy endings and perfect circumstances and everything going the way you want. It’s about learning, and bonding, and experiences–both positive and negative. And most of all, it’s about discovering what means the most to you.

This is, in part, why Xanthippe ends up with Bane in the end. Bane is her world, he means everything to her, and as she faces more and more situations that bring her closer to the extinction of life, she begins to realize where her heart truly lies. This doesn’t mean that she never cared for Eromai, nor does it mean she derived pleasure from hurting him, it just means that her love for Bane takes priority over her obligation to Eromai. Therefore, whilst she is thrust into unfortunate circumstances (and many readers will call it an unhappy ending), she still feels as though she has an almost happy ending, because she still has the one thing that matters to her the most: Bane.

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Bane’s Evasion of Death

Bane’s Evasion of Death

Personally, I feel as though I shouldn’t have a favorite character, because I created them all, so it just feels wrong. It’s like a parent picking a favorite child. But I have to admit, I have a real soft spot for Bane.

In all honesty, Bane was supposed to die earlier in the novel, he was not supposed to make it past the half-way point, but I just found that I could not possibly kill him off… I was far too attached. Not to mention, I realized, as I contemplated his death, that it would destroy the story. Bane is the glue that holds it all together , but at the same time, he’s the one tearing everything apart. He is Xanthippe’s entire world, and if he were to die that early in the novel, Xanthippe would never fully realize her capacity for emotion. Furthermore, Xanthippe most likely would not have even lived to the end of the novel had Bane not been there.

I realized, as I was writing, that the book is just as much about Bane as it is about Xanthippe. This might be, in part, because the book is written from Xanthippe’s point of view, so naturally Bane would be of importance, but also because their character arcs are so deeply intertwined that the world they live in began revolving almost solely around the two of them.

It’s kind of funny to me how things turn out like this though, because it was not a planned relationship. I actually hated Bane when I first started writing. He was someone I really despised. I couldn’t wait for the right time to kill him off, but as the story developed, I started seeing sides of him, aspects of his personality, that I had not intended on him having. Maybe they were traits that I subconsciously longed to have or something, but whatever it was, they began manifesting themselves in Bane. I watched as he evolved. I studied him. I delved deeper into his character, and I really analyzed him and asked myself why he was acting the way he was, because it felt so right–better than anything I could have forced upon him–and I realized he was actually a greater character than I had anticipated, so when I finally had the opportunity to kill him, I couldn’t go through with it.

My Favorite Quote

My Favorite Quote

“THERE IS NOTHING TO WRITING.

ALL YOU DO IS SIT DOWN

AT A TYPEWRITER AND BLEED.”

-ERNEST HEMINGWAY

I have not found a more true quote about writing than this. There just seems to be something so cleansing about writing. It isn’t something to be forced, but something to be embraced. In school, words are forced from students onto the paper. The poor students are timed, and graded, and taught to follow unbending rules–consequently taught to despise writing. But writing isn’t about rules. Writing should never be about rules. Writing should be about you, and the way you feel, and the things that you need to say. The rules come later, in editing. In a way, writing is bleeding. Writing is the bleeding of your repressed thoughts and feelings onto a paper through a pen into a beautifully terrifying piece of art.