I.N. Spire Official

Character

Jun
22

Throughout my education, both formal and informal, I have been told that authors write what they know. But where does that knowledge come from? Do we merely build situations and characters from our life experience? Do the heroes of our stories merely reflect pieces of the people that have touched us?

I don’t think so. Our life is more than just the people we meet or the choices we make. Like Wilde said, “Life imitates art.” And while he may have been saying this satirically or even ironically, it is true. How many awkward, nerdy teens pick up characteristics from their favorite superheroes or from the protagonists of their favorite fantasy novel? I know I have certainly picked up some personality traits. I learned my patience from books, as well as my curiosity at the world around me.

But that being said, every hero is different, no matter the story, because in truth, we do add elements of ourselves and others. Some heroes are entirely based on either the author’s vision of himself, or how he wishes he could be. Others are complete characterizations of our role models or family members.

In my own writing, I find it difficult to base a character off who I am or who I want to be. This is predominantly because I don’t like feeling vulnerable by letting strangers glimpse into such intimate details of my life.

But writing books is about being vulnerable, so I persist.

My heroes tend to be an amalgamation of sorts. Maybe I like how Kvothe is so sure of himself, almost cocky. Then to balance it out, I’ll add a piece of my own insecurities. Then there needs to come his life experiences. A good hero suffers, or has suffered greatly in his story. Suffering and pain give us something to rise above and beyond and give us a purpose.

And we have all suffered in some way throughout our lives, that is what draws us to our various genres of fiction or non-fiction. The #metoo movement has shown that a lot of people are finally coming to terms with and finding the strength to admit to suffering they endured in their past at the hands of people they should have been able to trust. And there are more out there, some who have suffered with depression or anxiety, PTSD, loneliness, fear, self-doubt, and the list goes on.

Regardless of anyone else’s opinions on the matter, all humanity has suffered at some point or another. And nobody can take that away from you. Just because children are starving in Africa doesn’t lessen the pain of sexual abuse. And just because someone is suffering domestic abuse from a partner doesn’t lessen your crippling depression, or sense of being alone.

Suffering is relative, and it is not the only thing we all have in common. We all have the ability to rise from the ashes and climb higher, some on our own, and some of us need help.

But the best thing an artist can do is find an outlet to channel all the leftover pain and guilt from the pains in their life and put pen to paper, or brush to canvas. All art is therapeutic and essential to a balanced mind. As a writer, we develop characters and elicit emotions from readers so that they can sympathize with us, even if they don’t know that they are sharing our personal suffering. In novels, much as in life, the pain we experience makes the joys we experience that much sweeter.

What characters do you feel the most connection to? What fictional world is your favorite escape?

Life and Writing

Jun
14

Life comes at you funny, sometimes. As I grew into adulthood, I tried to make decisions based on how good the story would be. Sometimes, it was a mundane decision, like whether to eat steak or chicken. Sometimes it was a more dramatic choice.

These choices shape us. As I read from various authors and genres, I picked up personality traits from beloved characters. As I spent more time around my role models and my friends, I did the same. All the while, I was learning who I wanted to be, and eventually, I realized that we never truly become that person. We always find something different to improve upon.

With my writing, sometimes, I get blocked up. I have great inspiration for a story and I start writing but then I lose it. I lose sight of where I wanted it to go. Because characters are as dynamic as we are, and sometimes it is difficult to see how they are going to react to a given situation.

For example. Jack has an opportunity to sneak out of his parents house and take the girl he likes to the drive-in. But Jack is grounded. Should he be a diligent son and do as his parents demanded? That would make for a pretty boring protagonist, but maybe in some cases, it is prudent for him to be that way. But if he goes to the drive-in maybe he gets the girl. Maybe he messes up and learns a life changing lesson he wouldn´t have if he had stayed at home.

There are a few important rules I try to follow as a writer.
1: Use your life and the people you´ve known or observed as inspiration
2: Use your imagination. It´s fiction. Have fun with it.
3: If you get writer´s block, write something else. The important thing is to keep putting pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboard, whatever the case may be.

Here is a little about me. I am in my early 30s. I am in a relationship with a wonderful woman whom I admire and love with all my heart. I have two children that are my joy, and the balm for any bad day.
I do my writing mostly on a raspberry pi. I like open source software, and the pi is compact and I prefer it to either of my two laptops.
I use my laptops for research and to manage social media. I also use them to watch television shows and movies. The internet is a marvellous invention.
When I´m brainstorming or outlining, I tend to use an old five star notebook and pen.

I have a huge list of influences, and I will list many of them here, so that you can find something new to read, if nothing else.
Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb, Stephen King, Tolkien, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, Douglas Adams, Timothy Zahn, Dungeons & Dragons, George R.R. Martin.