The Woman in the Mirror

The Magic Looking GlassWe writers (and artists in general) know that true art is an expression of ourselves. Whether it be a commission or a free-flowing piece, there must be that little grain of something that says, “This is who I am.”

I’d lost that with “Calypso.” I’d become so focused on the fame and the finish line that I lost sight of why I was writing in the first place: to tell a story. I’d lost my connection to Kira in my multiple attempts to make her more intriguing. I’d lost my connection to the romance and mystique in my failed efforts to create more drama. I’d worn myself out trying to match the political intrigue and mind-games that some of the Greats achieve. I’d lost myself.

I would love to tell you that it’s all better now, but that wouldn’t be true. Perhaps this is any writer’s struggle, the tug between how you want the characters to sound and how you keep your connection to them. I don’t know. I know very few writers who have openly said that they struggle to connect. I can tell you that it is getting better. As I stop demeaning myself, I’m beginning to see the qualities of Kira that are also in me. Rather than seeing myself in the weak, whining, scared child who was my first incarnation of Kira, I can see myself in the overly-righteous, stubborn, logical Kira that is beginning to form. I am finding my connection again.

This may seem trivial to many of you who read this blog. I know it’s not the usual topic I blog about (not that I’ve been blogging much lately), but it’s a major part of my journey. On top of that, if I’m struggling with this I’m sure some other writer somewhere out in the void is having the same problem.

If you are, take heart. Step back and examine what is wrong. Why can’t you connect? What part of your character is blocking you? I’ve been amazed by the complexity of the human spirit. I can at once be the self-effacing girl-child that I first wrote freely, but I can also be the strong leader that is now beginning to flow. Hopefully, the revelation or the struggle helps someone. Otherwise, I’ll be content with discovering more about myself.

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About S. G. Ricketts

I am a dreamer. This page holds all of the dreams and desires and hopes and wishes of the first of my two dreams: to share my imagination with the world. For those of you who have read a book or written a book, these stories are not merely words on a page. They are living, breathing creatures, worlds so compellingly real that you can smell the sweat and feel the rain. This is what I want to share ...with all of you. Yes, becoming rich and famous would be fabulous. I won't deny that. However, it would be so much more satisfying to see my book in the hands of someone on the bus, hear my book talked about at a restaurant, see a cluster of fan-art. I want to inspire the mind to imagine different worlds and different situations. If I can achieve that, I will have achieved my dream.

Posted on February 10, 2013, in Musing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Well, I’ll drop my two cents, as a writer. I am not sure if we will agree. However, something to consider, yes? I’ve read your changes to Calypso and I believe it is working out just fine. As for the character being a part of the author, sure , I can agree with that.

    Where I differ? I believe that is just the start. The disconnection with Kira is the natural progress of our art.

    I believe Kira or any author’s characters should become strangers to their own sense of being as the story progresses.

    Reason: a character may start from our being and subjective thoughts, but it evolves into its own individual identity as the story/plot / conflicts betray and confound this character to transfer from one type of person to a completely new perception of his/herself by suffering the slings and arrows that you (author/god of the world he/she lives in) inflicts upon them [no conflict. no story].

    Like a teenager rebelling from their parents who they no longer see as super heroes, but bumbling idiots trying to hold them back, there comes a time when your fictional character will no longer relate with you and give you the middle finger as they attempt to complete their journey in your story. At this point, a writer must figure out, in your case, what Kira would do next in every situation and not what you as the author would feel or do in that situation.
    It is not an easy feat or rabbit to pull out of ones hat. However, no one writes because it is an easy thing to do, unless they are a hopeless masochist….

    Kira is a round character in my opinion. The separation you may be feeling is that you may not be able to relate to her anymore and that is ok. The task now is to tell her story from what this fictional person would do and not what you would do as an author/person.

    As it is said in the movie I HEART HUCKABEES, ” No manure… No Magic!” Bring that book to a close, one way or another, and rejoice. I am doing the same with Clown World. We will get through the drudgery of the sagging middle and finish. This, I believe.

    • I completely agree! And you put it so eloquently!

      I particularly liked your analogy to a teenager just gaining independence. The child/parent analogy sums up my connection with Kira very well. For a while, she was a creation created outside of myself and my emotional self couldn’t reconcile her with being “mine.” After these changes, I’ve begun to see myself in her, but as a parent does: the shape of the eyes, the tilt of the head, the nature of stubbornness. Within that, though, are the qualities, as you said, which make the child or character its own person. Kira definitely has that.

      I’ve just finished editing (by hand…) the seventh chapter, and in it Kira fully matures for me as a character. I’m no longer struggling to make her bend the way I feel the story needs; she is leading on her own and speaking without my needing to make intervention.

      Such a glorious feeling, knowing that your character finally has life! But as you said, “No manure… No Magic!” I cherish those struggling months because they led Kira and me here.

      Thanks so so much for your comment!

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