Sentimental attachments to your characters by Matthew Cox
Prophet of the Badlands Guest Post
I think all writers form varying degrees of attachment to their characters. I’ve seen some posts by other authors agonizing over if they should kill off a character or let him live. (Granted, I’ve also read chats/post where authors ramble on with glee about how awful an upcoming death / assault / badness is going to be.)
For me, I do think I develop a strong sentimental attachment to certain characters. The deeper I get into their head, the more I feel them, the faster my writing process tends to go. Prophet was a drafting speed record for almost two years. The rough draft was 126,000 some odd words that I completed in about 13 days. I had the idea for the Awakened series and the Division Zero series at the same time and spent a good month trying to figure out which one I wanted to write first. I wound up going with Division Zero book one first. The whole time I was writing, it felt like Althea (the main character of Prophet) was standing behind me, arms crossed and tapping her foot, in a sort of an ‘are we there yet’ tone.
When I got Division Zero to a point where I thought it was ready to query, I (as all the advice givers say) kept writing while waiting on replies. Althea was more than happy to leap out of my head onto the page. About 60 ish percent of the way through the story, the outline called for something to happen, but Althea was having none of it. I hadn’t anticipated she would develop such a strong emotional connection to another character when I started off, and (perhaps this is the sentimental attachment showing) I couldn’t ignore Althea’s demand to change things. This adjustment made some rather pronounced alterations to the remainder of the story of Prophet as well as the story throughout the rest of the Awakened series.
I said Prophet used to hold the record… The Summer the World Ended, my second young adult novel, took me eight days to draft at an original length of 85,000 words. It took me a few weeks to get the storyline put together in the outline first, but once I started writing… it was all-consuming. By the time I finished writing it, Riley (the main character) felt like a real person.
While I didn’t write it quite as fast, Caller 107 also had a strong sentimental connection to the main character. Unlike Riley, Natalie isn’t always supposed to be likeable. She starts off a bit of a pill, but as the story progresses the true person inside comes out. Her initial state is a byproduct of being unable to handle her parents’ bitter divorce and making a whole bunch of stupid decisions. The story for Caller 107 came to me as a strange, creepy, and vivid dream from Natalie’s POV. At the time, I wasn’t writing seriously, but for whatever reason, I felt compelled to write down the story as soon as I woke up before I lost it. Dreaming it was pretty damn close to living it, so that made for a strong sentimental link to her.
Even minor characters sometimes, like one I’m thinking of from Virtual Immortality, come to mind. He dies, and he doesn’t really get all that much ‘screen time,’ but I felt horrible for killing him off even though the story called for it.
So, yep… I’d have to say I do get sentimentally attached to my characters. (Hopefully the readers do, too.)
by Matthew S. Cox
Publisher: Curiosity Quills
Genres: Adult, Cyberpunk, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Release date: April 26, 2015
Her power to heal the wounded and cleanse the sick makes her a hunted commodity in the Badlands, a place devoid of technology where the strong write the law in blood. For as long as she can remember, they always come, they always take her, and she lets them. Passed around in an endless series of abductions, she obeys without question―mending those who killed to own her.
After three whole months in the same village, the affection of a young warrior makes her feel almost like a member of the tribe rather than a captive. Her brief joy shatters when raiders seize her yet again; for the first time in six years, being stolen hurts.
A reluctant escape sends her wandering, and she realizes her gift is a prize that causes as much death as it prevents. Her attempt to return to the tribe leaves her lost and alone, hounded at every turn. When a family who sees her not as the Prophet―but as a little girl―takes her in, she finds the courage to use her power to protect those she loves.
A strange man from a world beyond her imagining tests her newfound resolve, seeking to use her power to further his own agenda. Tired of being property, her freedom boils down to one question: Can Althea balance the sanctity with which she holds all life against the miserable truth that some people deserve to die?
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|Author Matthew S. Cox|
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place.
Hobbies and Interests:
Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.
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