PDA

View Full Version : You ever become your character



erika
08-21-2006, 06:24 AM
I became my character in some strange, warped, and marginally psychotic ways. I finally snapped out of it and finished the book for good. Anyone else felt themselves being transformed? Or am I the only nutcase out there? (don't really tell me if I am)

My husband didn't mind though. It was as close to a menage a trois as he's ever gonna get.

JenNipps
08-21-2006, 06:59 AM
If you're nuts, I am too.

Er....

Nevermind. I freely admit to being a bit out there. Sometimes more than a bit. *s*

OK, seriously, yeah, I do that. I think that's one reason why it takes me so long to finish anything more than a short story. It kind of ... spooks me so I back off.

erika
08-21-2006, 10:22 PM
You may be doing it right. In my situation, I was writing in first-person and actually started to love my character's scathing wit. One thing led to another and I think I started to fashion myself after her. It was partially cathartic but I started to become irrational. I decided that after this book, I'm not writing this character anymore. She's too addictive.

erika
08-21-2006, 10:43 PM
I think that is one of the great joys to reading and writing - the ability to become immersed. I think if you can become addicted to the character you're writing, there's a good chance your readers will become addicted as well. And that can't be a bad thing..
Unless your character's a psychotic *****. Then, it can negatively impact your life.

popmuze
08-26-2006, 01:08 AM
You may be doing it right. In my situation, I was writing in first-person and actually started to love my character's scathing wit. One thing led to another and I think I started to fashion myself after her. It was partially cathartic but I started to become irrational. I decided that after this book, I'm not writing this character anymore. She's too addictive.

I always wonder how come actors and actresses don't get stuck in their characters; I heard sometimes they're "in character" during the entire filming of the movie. But can they just then snap out of it? Probably you need to be psychotic to succeed in that profession.

As far as writing, this definitely happens to me and it's a big negative. Sometimes I'm writing about a character who has gotten past some problems I might have had--and I wind up slipping back into those problems.

Like say I used to have a fear of answering the phone. If I'm writing about a character who has a fear of answering the phone, I may wind up not answering the phone for a few weeks. Does that make any sense?

JenNipps
08-26-2006, 04:57 AM
It actually does make sense.

I think we assign certain problems/issues we have had (or currently have) to our characters and this can sometimes impede us from moving forward ourselves for the time we carry that character around in our head.

FergieC
09-28-2006, 01:50 PM
I usually find it's the other way around. I create characters who I think are original, or based on other people - and often they're pretty screwed up, depressed or psychotic. It's only later on, or often on re-writes that I start to realise they are parts of me, or that their conflicts are really mine.

I don't mind this, except when it's a really screwed up character, then I get a bit worried :e2hammer: But on the whole, I reckon the writing is doing a good job of keeping me away from those traits in real life, by working them all through on paper, using fictional characters.

It's interesting what you can find lurking around the darker recesses of your own mind...

Lolly
09-30-2006, 01:18 AM
I don't become my characters, but I find myself sympathizing with them so much that it affects me. For instance, today I was plotting out a confrontation scene between my heroine and her friend, and I felt myself becoming physically ill.

Evaine
09-30-2006, 05:08 PM
Some actors and actresses do get "taken over" by their parts - like Vivien Leigh, after starring in A Streetcar Named Desire. Playing a mad character can be dangerous to your own mental health.

On a more trivial level, Jon Pertwee, best known for his work as Doctor Who, also starred in the children's TV series Worzel Gummidge, where he played a living scarecrow. He found himself sidling up to his wife and begging for tea and cake without realising his normal behaviour had changed.

dancingandflying
10-12-2006, 10:25 PM
let's just say... you're not the only one. when i fully flesh out my main character, i become her. that also happens when i'm doing a play and then get what the character is about.
maybe it makes sense, maybe not.
dancingandflying.

C.bronco
10-12-2006, 10:33 PM
Erika, have you ever read Stephen King's "The Dark Half?" That's the premise of the book; the writer becomes his character, and scary things ensue.

Raiyah
10-12-2006, 11:09 PM
I appear in character often. Enough said.

Scarlett_156
10-13-2006, 09:15 AM
Every character I create is me in some way, shape, or form. Yes, I know this is a weakness. I'm hoping that getting published will help me sort of grow out of it.

JenNipps
10-18-2006, 05:52 PM
Mod Note: I copied this thread over to the AW Roundtable because it applies to more than MCL. Don't be surprised if/when you get notifications from more than one thread on this.

Jongfan
10-18-2006, 06:01 PM
Oh if only !!! I think I could be arrested in some states if I were to become a character of mine

Writer'sBlockBuster
11-17-2006, 08:55 AM
Every character I create is me in some way, shape, or form. Yes, I know this is a weakness. I'm hoping that getting published will help me sort of grow out of it.
I just have to differ here. I've heard this said before, but I don't think it's a weakness. On the contrary, I don't think it's possible to write a character that is not you "in some way, shape, or form." We write through the filter of the mind, always.

Nakhlasmoke
11-17-2006, 09:17 AM
Every character I create is me in some way, shape, or form. Yes, I know this is a weakness. I'm hoping that getting published will help me sort of grow out of it.

Hasn't hurt Neil Gaiman much, he mentioned before that characters start based on a part of his personality, and grow from there.

Haydee
11-23-2006, 06:39 AM
My characters are often an exaggerated portion of my own psyche-- my insecurities, fears, fantasies, etc.

However the weirdest thing is that I wrote a book where the main character was male (I'm female), and he was utterly unlike me in every physical/practical way, although emotionally we are similar. But I liked him a lot and I had a lot of fun writing him.

Then I met a guy. Who I ended up marrying. And then realized... The man who is now my husband shares the same physical characteristics of my character, has the same (unusual) job, and likes the same things. All qualities which, I might add, I had put on a "NO" list for potential mates. My husband is basically the complete opposite of the "mental image" I had in mind for who I would eventually marry.

Don't get me wrong-- I'm completely happy with him! However sometimes I get freaked out... like, did I write about this guy, develop a crush on him, and then unconsciously go looking for someone like him in the real world???

Then again, I guess not everyone can say they married someone right out of a storybook.

Gary
11-24-2006, 03:33 AM
I was thinking about this very subject before I signed in today.

Because my novel is a highly fictionalized version of events in my life, mostly when I was young, I couldn't help but think and become even more like the character. He is what I was, not what I am, yet I often find myself thinking the same way he does. It's almost scary, because it may come to a point where memories of events as written in the book become more real than those I actually lived.

What's even more scary is the idea that since part of my story takes place in the future, maybe it's a premonition!

Welcome to the Twilight Zone......

WerenCole
12-06-2006, 02:52 AM
Gee. . . I don't have any characters named Weren Cole (and he doesn't have any named after Me. . . )


Weren is my Buddy Glass (from Salinger). We are good buddies, we are the same person. It is like having an invisible friend who uses my fingers to tell stories.

I kind of like him, but he can be a little annoying at times. ;)

mooncars
12-06-2006, 08:22 PM
Not at all. It's fiction. I did try to write erotica once. How anyone can do that without going into sexual meltdown is beyond me.

Where's my raincoat?
Rick

janetbellinger
12-11-2006, 06:00 AM
I've dreamt about my characters and my novel in general. Does that count?

CoCo
12-16-2006, 03:32 AM
I never become my characters. My characters always becomes me. ;)

AnnieColleen
12-16-2006, 04:11 AM
I've dreamt about my characters and my novel in general. Does that count?

I played cards with my friend's characters once.

I was bored and playing Hearts in the college computer lab. Didn't like the player names someone had left on it, so I changed them to the characters' names.

They played in character the whole time!

kct webber
12-29-2006, 01:52 PM
I've had dreams about my characters many times.

And I always become my characters. A couple of people mentioned actors staying in character--I write in character. That has become a bit odd at times when I'm writing a female, as I am a guy. I am, however, always able to 'snap out of it' when I finish writing.

Well, almost always. Once, I was writing a character who had been drugged and describing, in detail, what effect it was having on her. I succeeded in really getting inside her head, evidently, 'cause I couldn't write anymore. I felt as if I had taken a handful of downers--sweating, shaking, lightheaded, dizzy, etc. I had to go to bed (and stumbled all the way). I slept for an hour then got up and felt fine. That was a bit strange.

CasualObserver
12-29-2006, 10:03 PM
Well, you spend hours trying to get into a character's head, understand their motivations, listening to their every word and thought and you can't help it sometimes. I remember that last time I had a Scottish character; I made every effort to write the brogue in and typed 'aye' instead of 'yeah' for weeks.

Parkinsonsd
01-11-2007, 11:12 PM
I was having marital problems (no, really?) a while back and I figured I wouldstart writing a short about it, and I started writing and the story grew beyond what had actually happened, and I could relate to each and every event that the fictional wife (bitch) did to her husband and I started hating her and as I was going through the writing process I realized my marital problems were becoming worse, partly because I had confused the fictional wife and the real wife and their activities and I had assigned all the faults of the fictional wife to my wife.

The main character's problem was only a thing with run on sentnces. But as you can see, that was totally made up.

blackpen
02-03-2007, 01:37 AM
for me it's the opposite. my character becomes like me and a bit of what i'd like to be like.

Lady Esther
02-05-2007, 12:51 AM
My characters become like me too. I have to remind myself that they wouldn't react the way I would in a given situation.

penny manning
05-26-2009, 09:37 AM
I wouldn't mind having a few aspects of my characters' personalities.

I like that my MC (Johnny) is confident and unfazed (externally, anyway) by the opinions of others. I could really use both. I like that he's fine (70's term for really gorgeous)...He could throw a bit of extra my way. I won't complain.

His wife Natalie is a survivor. Okay...That's probably me. hahaha.

His brother Dimitri is supportive of Johnny. Takes care of him when he seizures. Now, I'm gutless...Johnny would twist himself into a pretzel. So I could use a bit of that nursing spirit (especially if you're angry at the sick person).

Well...there. That's all I'm admitting to. :tongue

Kalyke
05-31-2009, 07:58 PM
no. I actually like to work on characters who are totally unlike me. That's probably why I take so darned long to fininsh a book.

sveltskye
08-01-2009, 11:08 PM
Some of my novel is actually based off of events in my life and the main character and others are definately semi autobiographical, but my protagonist is my opposite in a lot of ways which makes it interesting. The premise of my story has a lot to do with the issue of how the lines of art and fiction can get blurred as my character goes crazy while she writes her own novel. Gets kind of meta LOL- trippy.

Kadee
09-30-2009, 06:38 AM
Eeeef...that's one of the things I try VERY hard to avoid. it happens to everyone though; their character becomes a voicebox for their ideals.

M.Austin
10-01-2009, 08:05 PM
It actually does make sense.

I think we assign certain problems/issues we have had (or currently have) to our characters and this can sometimes impede us from moving forward ourselves for the time we carry that character around in our head.

I think that is -very- true. Sometimes I'll be writing with my perfectly neat outline right next to me, and my character will suddenly trash it, do something completely unexpected, and leave me clueless. After a day or two, I'll read back over it just to make sure I like it, then realize it had to do with something that was bothering me. I made him go through it because I wanted to get through it.

WKolodzieski
10-09-2009, 04:57 AM
If it's unhealthy to "morph" into your mc then I'm royally screwed and should definetly be institutionalized. I think it's a natural thing that most creative people do. Writing to me is like exercising demons, and I believe it to be good thing. A...very...good...thing.

Bufty
10-10-2009, 07:28 PM
Only in the sense of imagining how he or she may react in any given situation - that's how actors function. But never in the sense that one of my characters takes over and controls me.

mathewferguson
10-12-2009, 08:34 AM
Some of my characters have put up really good coherent arguments against my own point of view and later on I've considered what they had to say...

If I invent something new I sometimes pick it up and integrate it into my behaviour for a little while. One character called another "bartoom" meaning "someone I adore". I thought it was so nice that I took it for myself.

SLake
12-15-2009, 05:30 AM
I fought against my first character for a few years until it dawned that the character had a story to tell and I was just the nuisance.

Me male, she female which often popped my eyes to the feminine mind - with the help of my wife, constantly clarifying. Writing that literary style, I guess, made writing a whole lot easier because I stopped thinking about what I was writing. Everything fell into place. It was that easy. Now I have a trilogy / saga with about ten characters (+ 2 men as well).

One weird thing (but there's lots else) and few folk above have mentioned odd things too. I was resting and thinking about writing or not, and a Spanish character I was writing shouted "WORK" in my ear - I looked the word up later. I was half asleep, probably my imagination, but I sure jumped 0_0

Madrye
05-17-2010, 09:56 PM
I've definitely wished I was my character because she is strong-willed and confident. I think in some ways your character could rub off a little, especially if you're having a good run with your writing and/or editing. You're spending a huge amount of time with them and you know them inside-out. I think it makes sense if it happens.

Kitty27
05-21-2010, 09:23 PM
I believe that when you create a character,you do one of two things.

You either give them traits that you have or ones you wish you had.
If you are a rather shy or quiet person writing tough characters,you might be unaware that you are tough. You just show it in a different way!

Every female character I write,no matter the genre,is strong-willed. I'm pushy and tough as all hell,so that rubs off. They also dress well. I LOVE fashion!

I have a friend who is one of the shyest people ever,but every character she writes is boisterous,social,etc. I think doing this has helped her open up more.

Irrelevant
06-04-2010, 06:21 PM
I agree with Kitty above me here in the sense that writers tend to give characters traits they wish they had. Hence why the majority of main characters are strong-willed boundary-pushers. We take our own lives and make them kookier and romanticise them and give them happy endings.

However, the last few pieces I've written have all had a main character who was naturally evil. It's been a test of my own character more than anything, to see how willing I am to watch my own main character act insultingly to everyone they meet. It's uncomfortable, but a useful thing to do, in my opinion.

Macy
07-03-2010, 03:21 AM
My character Charles has a red bike and smokes alot.
And I started riding a bike and smoking alot.
Sigh.

tammay
07-20-2010, 10:49 PM
I won't say I "become" my characters but there is a little bit of me (either who I am now or who I'd like to be) in almost every one of them, even the male characters (I am female :)). I tend to identify most with the characters who are women in their late 30's/early 40's who have some gumption but have been oppressed all their lives by expectations and family (because that's very close to my own history). But these characters are rarely the protagonists of my novels. They are usually more peripheral characters.

Tam

ColetteStreet
07-28-2010, 02:55 AM
Definitely. I used to do a lot of amateur acting when I was younger so I guess falling into character of my character comes naturally. I find that when I am writing a story, I will even start to act out dialogue when I am away from the computer. By the way, if you see a guy in a red jeep who is having a complete conversation with nobody and you don't see a blue tooth in his ear, well, um, you'll know who it is.

branchwag
08-09-2010, 08:03 AM
I've always noticed that my characters are a lot older than me. I'm 18 and I find my main characters being in their 30s. One of which is very close to my heart and when I write for her, I can really get to know her in my head as if she really was me. Is that odd that I can identify with older characters better than ones my age?

amlptj
08-10-2010, 11:05 PM
i created my story when i was 12 as a way of escaping my life. It started out as daydreams where in my head i actually had friends we we had adventures. When i started writing down my thoughts thats when i became a character in a book. I put myself in my books. Guess you could say even though my books matured into actually stories and not stupid childhood daydreams i never left my stories. I'm still a character in my series, and the character me is a mixture of the actural me and the person i wish i could be. Because of this I have alot of trouble writing anything where I'm not the main character.