Monday, June 16, 2014

30-Week Writing Survey: Week 11: Favorite/Least Favorite Characters



Today's question: Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

Even after all this time, I probably actively enjoy writing my character Ivy the most. I invented her in 1996 as a teenager in a bad fantasy series, but after I decided the series wasn't publishable, I developed her and her pals into the stars of my webcomic Negative One and I continue to use her as a point-of-view character (though in this version she is very young--she was practically pre-verbal at the time that I made her a narrator). What's great about Ivy is that she's got a lot of problems but she's pretty confident thanks to a smart upbringing; like, sure she has angst, but her mind is a comfortable place to hang out most of the time (despite her being a bit high-strung and quick to anger). She grew up in the world we all know--a contemporary setting--but she was raised outside society and has telekinetic powers that are strong enough to let her affect very large objects and get around by flying.

Her mind is set up so differently from all the other characters I've written. She's so much like the rest of the world in most ways, but the differences are really quite profound. This is hard to get across in print while writing ABOUT her from outside her head, but the way she sees space shapes her whole perception of the world and its people . . . there's this weird balancing act going on there. Half of it is a sense of superiority partially based on being able to literally take herself above the world (and, of course, have pretty much effortless influence over anyone who tries to cross her), but then the other half is this weird feeling of impermanence . . . like she can't truly belong on the ground because she doesn't have to stay there. Sometimes she wants desperately to belong and other times she's glad she doesn't. It's a very odd place to be, especially when she fights with herself about what she wants and doesn't really come to an agreement.

I should also say I really love writing about Delia from Bad Fairy, but she's so intense and dramatic that it also stresses me out, so I guess I'd go with Ivy as a favorite to write because it's not so hard on me emotionally.

The "which character is your least favorite to write about" is a VERY tough question. I don't actively dislike any of my protagonists. I would say the biggest STRUGGLE was writing Cassie from Finding Mulligan. She did piss me off sometimes and I did not like her sometimes. This is mainly because she hung a lot of her self-worth on a boy. I didn't like that desperation. And I didn't like that the core of her being was so, you know, damaged. She is really really not well for most of the book, and doesn't even know it. But writing AS her certainly connected me to her sorrow and her fracturedness and her desperate desire to be something more, so I certainly can't say I didn't like writing about her. It was very hard though, writing as someone who was that unsure of herself and that motivated by things that don't exist in my life.

I don't write in third person very often, but I did so for one of the THTIB books (Book 0). For that one I bounced around between perspectives quite a lot, and the ones I found myself kind of disliking the process on were Alix and sometimes Adele. That might sound weird because I love Adele, but sometimes her superiority complex gets whipped out without warning and she is pretty impossible to be around. She's done that quite a few times in Negative One so far. Alix is another story because let's face it, he's kind of the story's jackass, and I don't write from his actual perspective in the webcomic. Get him together with Adele and some very obnoxious interaction ensues, because Adele likes to put on her condescending mommy hat when she's around him and Alix HATES getting bossed around by anyone, especially if that "anyone" is a girl, and MOST of all if said girl is frigging ALWAYS RIGHT.

And I sometimes had a hard time with writing Nick from Stupid Questions because it was a constant struggle to balance his sensitivity with his masculinity and I was not always sure I was doing it right. In order to make him seem authentically male, I sometimes had him make the kinds of generalizations about women that I've seen many men make when they're faced with their own romantic failures, and the way he sometimes rejects aspects of himself that he would like to be allowed to treasure just because he wants to be a tough guy was really obnoxious, but I had to make it seem to come from somewhere real inside him--to not sound grafted on by a female author who's trying to think "male."

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