Tag Archives: Channeling Fiction Characters
It has been awhile since I have had time to actually work on my fourth Beyond mystery book.Earlier this year I got a good start and then as they say “life happens.” A lot of that life this year for me is a lot of problems coming my way – the annoying part being that 90% are caused by other people and/or organizations.
Heck, I can create enough chaos without any input from others, But they provide lots of fodder for future short stories and maybe even for my new mystery novel.
But not all the distractions were bad. I an still a writing instructor and editor so there was work there. And I also write memoir and that’s where the bulk of my creative writing has been taking place. The results are a short memoir piece about dealing with my father’s death from cancer when I was 16 which is to be published in an online university journal, to just about finishing the final rewrite of the full book-length memoir – at least until any interested publisher gets at it and edits it..But I like rewriting.
And of course, book promo for Beyond Faith – and that continues. Some via social media, some in person and some with my new TV show Crime Beat Confidential on thatchannel.com, Episode three coming up soon. But you can catch the first two either at thatchannel.com under “Shows” or by Googling “Crime Beat Confidential and Youtube” as thatchannel.com uploads all their shows on Youtube.
But this week I spent an afternoon back at Beyond Truth. Did some more plot and character development.I had forgotten how a writer can be so absorbed in creating a novel, a short story, etc. that the rest of the world can go to hell and you just don’t care. My world was the world of Beyond Truth and its characters and plot. And I still like the beginning Prologue I wrote earlier this year. It was good to see I can still develop twisted plots – now I have to write them. I always do so with the premise that none of it is sealed in granite. If it doesn’t work out I can come up with something else. Or my main book character Private Investigator Dana Bowman can. And that woman sometimes gives me grief. She thinks she wrote Beyond Faith so I think for Beyond Truth she and I will have to collaborate or there will be no peace.
But I’m getting the byline on the book.
To do all this, I have to write more often. To do this I have to get rid of some distractions and prioritize others. For one thing I’m back to setting a timer for when I do daily email (and finally finished in the time allotted today). And I am pickier about what I reply to and when. I am deleting more. I am saying “no” to more requests for stealing my time and not just those coming in via email.. Now that winter is here, I hope to spend more time indoors as I’m not a winter sport or any winter activity fan, although I do walk in winter. I will also attend less events when the weather is terrible.
As for those problems that won’t go away. I try to pick one to deal with each day.
So, as of next week, I plan to spend more than just one half day a week working on Beyond Truth and will more than pencil it in to my calendar.. I have to. My police consultant stopped me at a mutual author’s book launch last month and asked me why I haven’t emailed him with more research questions. He may get inundated shortly.
How do you find time to write your novel, short stories or whatever you write?
Comments, please. I can learn from others’ experiences.
Sharon A. Crawford
Author of the Beyond mystery series. Most recent book, (Click on the book)
Fiction characters taking over writing your novel or short story is usually seen as a good sign that your characters are developing.
But where do you draw the line?
For the past couple of years I have been dressing up as my main Beyond mystery novel character, Dana Bowman, and do short comedy skits at libraries, cafes, etc. In the past few months, when rewriting Beyond Faith for my publisher, Dana has been taking over. It is like I am channeling her.
This isn’t the first time that was picked up. A few months after the previous Beyond novel – Beyond Blood – was published, I was interviewed on the Liquid Lunch on thatchannel. com. Sandra, one of the interviewers said it was like i was channeling my characters. Hmm. Around about the time I started doing skits featuring Dana.
But now Dana is claiming to have written Beyond Faith? What? We have internal discussions about that. Right now I’m letting her think she co-authored Beyond Faith with me. Really, it is my name on the book cover, although she gets mentioned on the back cover – in the book synopsis.
Internal discussions may be the key word to some sort of sanity. Or if out loud in the privacy of your writing space, your office, your home. You don’t want to be like the pour soul on the subway last evening.
He was a young fellow in a hoodie carrying a backpack. Which could be a red flag. He was running back and forth to the different subway cars – something not allowed on the old subway cars with actual doors between cars. As he entered the cars he would look at someone and carry on a conversation about something that made no sense. Then he would dance around a bit, grab the bar overhead and start swinging. After a few minutes of this, he went into another subway car.
I suspect he was high on something. But what if he was in character? What if he is an author and he was letting his character speak? What if?
Probably not. But it could serve as a guideline of how far not to go with your character acting out. Public transit and public streets no. But if you are a scheduled author presenting at a library or conference, yes, be your character.
And in the privacy of your writing area, yes – if it helps you develop your character, develop your plot.
There is a fine line between madness and sanity and I’m not sure where authors can safely cross the line.
As for Dana Bowman, I’ll still channel her; I’ll still carry on conversations with her. I will sometimes listen to her.
But I wish she would listen to me sometimes.
The bane of creating characters.
If you want to see how Dana is invading my life, see the comparisons between the two of us posted on my website here.
And please comment to answer this question. Are your fiction characters taking over writing your plot? How do you feel about that? Is it a help or hindrance to your writing?
Sharon A. Crawford
Here’s the cover of the latest Beyond mystery novel. Click on the cover to see one of the places the book is available. And as you can see Dana Bowman’s name is not on the cover.
Creating characters that resonate with your readers, characters that are three dimensional – in other words credible characters – is not always easy. But it can lead you down interesting and unexpected pathways and forge a bond between author and character. Sometimes that bond means the character thinks he or she is writing the story.
That’s what happened with the main character in my Beyond mystery series – PI Dana Bowman. Maybe it’s because as part of my book promo she comes to life when I dress up as her for presentations in libraries,cafes and the like.
I have to keep reminding Dana that is is my name, not hers, on the book cover as the author.
And we really are not alike, so not the same person – as I keep telling Dana.
Here’s a character comparison of us on my website
So how do you create credible characters? Do they suddenly appear in your head? Sometimes. Sometimes you get your plot first
Characters can come from real life, your imagination or by osmosis. Here are a few pointers
If you create a character from real life, make sure you use the real person as only a kicking-off point – perhaps how they look, perhaps one distinctive characteristic and create from there.
Don’t steal other authors’ characters – evenly loosely disguised as your so-called character.
Personal experience and knowledge can help in creating and developing characters. but remember you are creating fictional characters for fiction, not writing a memoir.
An oxymoron – fictional characters must come across as real characters, real people, so readers can connect to them.
Once created, characters don’t remain static – they evolve; they change, even in just one short story, and more so in novels, especially series novels.
I have lots more info on this and will be teaching a workshop on Creating Compelling Characters this Sunday, November 5, from 2 p,m. to 4 p.m. with the Toronto Writers Circle at the Toronto Reference area. It is free and open to the writing public. Here is the library info about the group and location. If you live in the general area you might like to join us.
And here is my latest Beyond mystery book. Click on it for more info
Sharon A. Crawford
It’s here – Beyond Faith, the third book in the Beyond mystery series. Well, the cover is. Take a look.
And here is what true crime author Nate Hendley has to say about the book.
Beyond Faith offers secrets, lies and death with a connection to the Catholic Church, set in small-town and big-city Ontario. It’s a great story with a great pair of unlikely protagonists (a brother-sister pair of twin investigators), twists, surprises and Sharon Crawford’s distinctive tone and shining dialogue. Recommended for any detective-story fans yearning for Ontario-based tales.
– Nate Hendley, true-crime author (Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice and The Big Con)
And here’s what I, Dana Bowman, have to say about it
I am thrilled. It perfectly illustrates my book. It…Oh, oh, I hear Sharon A. Crawford coming. She thinks she wrote Beyond Faith, but I have a thing or two to tell her about that.
Voice of Sharon: Dana, what are you up to now?
Dana, shrugging her shoulders: Just publicizing Beyond Faith – that cover is very intriguing. And very apt for the book’s contents.
Voice of Sharon: Which I wrote.
Voice of Sharon: All right, Ms. Dana Bowman private investigator. That’s enough. Get your you-know-what back in the agency office. Detective Sergeant Fielding wants a word with you.
Dana: Oh, all right. Coming.
Dana, looking up: Sharon is creating a Beyond Faith page on her website and it is rumoured to be going live soon. Meantime, check out hers and my upcoming appearances on that website under Books or under the Gigs and Blogs page here. See you next week.
Dana heads into the agency office.
Voice of Sharon: That Dana. Sometimes I wonder why I ever created her. But like she said…see you next week.
Sharon A. Crawford
the real author of the Beyond mystery books.