Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Channeling your inner character

Some folks say our characters come from within us. That every person we write has at least a tiny part of us in them.

I’m not sure about that, but since it’s damn near impossible to pry open an author’s head and see exactly all of the thought processes, influences, memories that go into making a character—I’ll let that ride.

But now I’m facing the flip side of that. Using my own characters to help myself get through some rough spots.

Our house was recently robbed—again. This is twice in one year. Both times it was a quick hit, they grabbed small electronics and fled. Both times they took advantage of a small window of time where no one was home in the middle of the day.

This time they even walked out the front door.

I was freaked.

Ok, not as much as the first time (once the initial fear, panic, anger settled down), but still freaked. But the first time I had serious anxiety issues for a few months. As in “don’t wanna leave the house” issues.

The night after the break in, I had a long talk with myself. I realized I could let the bastard (s) who did this make my life even more miserable for a few months—or I could mentally fight back.

As I was thinking about this, I thought of my characters. I write space opera, steampunk, assorted fantasy types, even geek romance—but all of my heroines are tough. Not all the same, probably the most dangerous one I’ve created so far (unbeknown to her even) is very unassuming.

But they are all resilient.

They get screwed up…a lot. But they bounce back. They don’t let things stop them (ok, eventually in some cases ;)).

So, thinking of these figments of my imagination, I started making myself more resilient. I looked at what my options were to fix the problem (alarm and outside cameras) but also looked inside to move past it.

This just happened a few days ago, but I’m doing ok. I still want to bash the thieves heads in with a baseball bat (I do have some rather violent heroines) but I’m going to be ok. Living in fear is pointless.

My characters, which may or may not be made up of parts of who I am (or as I think, who I want to be ;)) helped me regain my sense of self.

What about you? Your characters ever reach out from beyond the page and help you?


  1. I hadn't thought about my characters helping me. What an excellent idea. There are plenty of other characters who would do as stand-ins for support/spine as well. Specifically, "what would Miles Vorkosigan do?" Full steam ahead, blasters ready!
    I applaud you. And sincerely would like to join you in the smashing of theifly knees, should the opportunity arise.

    1. Thank you, pongowu! Hmmmm- Miles would probably have something very crafty in mind--but I'll settle for busting knee caps :).

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

      Marie- fighting with blogger- can't log on :(

  2. Marie,

    Why can't your characters help you out of bad situations? You'd do the same for them. Knock on wood, I've not been the victim of a robbery, but for a while there it seemed like I wore a neon sign meant just for peeping toms which read "Over here big boy" Nothing like brushing a curtain aside to see someone standing on a ladder at your second story bathroom window. I applaud your efforts to be proactive and do something to keep this from happening again. And if your characters are the ones who helped you do it, more power to them. Sometimes we get help from the places we least expect it.


    1. OMG! Sharon I had no idea you had peeping tom issues! that sucks :(. I do hope the bastard fell over backwards :).

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!