Friday, April 6, 2012

Listening to the Voices of our Characters, A Guest Post by Rachel McClellan

Okay, so today we're getting the extra-special insight on characters from FRACTURED LIGHT author Rachel McClellan. But before that, I have the winners of the SURRENDER ARCs! Thank you so much to everyone who tweeted, liked my books/stories on Amazon, and/or pre-ordered REGRET.

The two winners of the ARCs are:
Shari Green
Kearston Dawn Preece

Congrats! Emails have been sent.

Okay, so let's start with a bit about Rachel's book, and then hear what she has to say about listening to the voices of our characters.

About FRACTURED LIGHT: I’m dying, I thought. This was unexpected and not at all how I envisioned my death. I was supposed to die gardening in a flowerbed as a hundred-year-old woman, not as a seventeen-year-old trapped in a lake beneath inches of ice.

Llona Reese is used to living on the run. After a Vyken killed her parents, she knew they would eventually come for her too. She can’t take any chances. But when she starts to make friends for the first time in her life, she gets careless and lets her guard down. Big mistake.

As an Aura, Llona can manipulate light and harness its energy. But if she wants to survive, Llona will have to defy the Auran Council and learn to use her power as a weapon against the Vyken whose sole desire is to take her light. Now she’s caught in something bigger than she can understand, with a power she can’t wield, and no one she can trust, except, just maybe, a mysterious stranger.

Listening to the Voices of our Characters:

There are a select few who claim to see dead people. I’m not one of them, but I do see characters, and, honestly, some of them are just as scary. The other day I reached for a hanger that had slid partially beneath an attic door in the back of my son’s closet. Just as my fingers touched the hard, white plastic, something, or someone, sucked the hanger into the attic. It was only a moment later that I realized the thing in my attic is the ghost of a seriously pissed-off, murdered woman.

None of this happened, of course. It was only in my imagination, but now the woman is there. Stuck inside my head as much as she’s stuck in my attic. She joins the countless others who are just waiting for their story to be told. I listen best I can, and when I have time I write down their stories. The sooner the better.

It wasn’t always this way. There was a time when I could look at an oddly-shaped tree and keep walking; the deep hole in its side was merely a squirrel’s home and not an entrance to a world where humans hide at night and travel at day to avoid the growing number of Junks (those who have had their humanity turned off by the Authorities).

At first I tried ignoring the characters, pretended they didn’t exist. But this only made them louder. When their cries started to contend with that of my children’s, I knew I had to listen. It took some time, but eventually I found a way to balance my own life with that of theirs.

Llona wasn’t the first character I wrote about, but she was the loudest, and, gratefully, wasn’t as scary as the others. I like writing about her. She makes me laugh so I’m glad she has more to say in the sequel of Fractured Light.

Those of you interested in writing, listen to characters. They’re all around us desperately waiting to be heard. Help them find their voice. Work hard. Stay focused. And most importantly don’t give up on them. They only want to exist.


Wow, great advice! Where to follow Rachel:

So, how do you find your characters? Let me know in the comments and one lucky winner will receive a signed copy of FRACTURED LIGHT by Rachel McClellan!


Leigh Ann said...

It's one of the best things EVER when I hear characters - and one of the saddest things when I dream one up, but can't hear her.

Love your stories of how you hear and see them everywhere! Great post. <3

LM Preston said...

Rachel thanks for sharing with us how your characters tell their stories to you.

Angela Brown said...

Thank you, Rachel, for sharing this regarding the voices. Only as writers are we able to hear the voices, laugh with them, cry with them and fear for them all while not being considered mentally off our rocker...well, not by the authorities as least.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome Rachel how your characters speak to you. I've heard great things about your book and would love to win.

Kelly Hashway said...

Great post, Rachel! Characters really do just appear to us and demand that we tell their stories. It does sound a little crazy when we tell non-writers about this, but really these characters are our best friends. :)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Wow I enjoy reading this. I never experience this "writers imaginary mind" and I'm quite fascinated by it. Do you guys really imagine such things in your head while walking trough the garden and all? I think I am going to try imagining things too as I would love to be an author one day!

Aai Marsh.

Carl Scott said...

That is so interesting. I've heard of similar things before. I remember one author who said she was stopped at a traffic light when a character started talking to her and pretty much outlined her whole story on the drive home. It sounds fascinating and I'm sure must be very inspirational. Thanks for the insight.

ilima said...

I've read a digital version of Fractured Light and LOVED it. I'd love to win a copy of it too.

One of my CP's said she saw the spitting image of one of my characters on the road the other day, and it got me so excited, I really wished he could be real.

I love those characters in your head that just won't shut up.

Lovey Dovey Books said...

I'm definitely classified as a daydreamer. So, if I whenever I had to write a story in class with characters and dialogue, I would think about all the daydreams I could remember and base whatever I wrote off of them. It helped because I had a clear picture in my head of who I wanted the characters to be.

Thanks for sharing that advice Rachel!
email: lovemibooks AT aol DOT com

Donna said...

I'm so adding this book to my to-read list.

For my characters, they usually just jump out at me, something growing into much more than I'd originally intended.

Julie Daines said...

Thanks for this great advice. Perhaps this explains why my kids keep telling me I never listen to them. What? I thought I was listening. I meant to listen, but there was something else going on in my head.

Sarah Allen said...

Love it :) It's always nice to find kindred spirits (i.e. figure out I'm not crazy...or the only one who's crazy ;) Thanks for the post, and your book looks awesome! The cover is gorgeous.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Jemi Fraser said...

love that advice! Those characters really are waiting for their turns to be heard :)

PurpleMist. said...

Loved this!
Thank you Rachel.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

FANTASTIC post!!! And I loved Fractured Light! :)

Theresa Milstein said...

Excellent post. Now I want to read this book even though I think I'll be scared.

Carol Riggs said...

Congrats to the winners, and it's nice to meet Rachel! What a gorgeous looking cover. LOL--I like the comment about Llona being a character who was loud but not as scary. :)

Martha Ramirez said...

Awesome advice! Your book sound amazing!

Vivien said...

Congrats to the winners! I've had my eye on this book for months. It sounds absolutely alluring!

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Julie Musil said...

"They only want to exist." I love that! Thanks for the peek into your writing world.

Carol Kilgore said...

I loved reading this. My characters speak to me, but not quite this loudly.

Hi, Elana!

Carrie said...

In dreams...I have very vivid ones!

celjla212 at aol dot com

Diana said...

this is a great and haunting post! I often think the same things, wonder the same things, envision them. What if's, and then they become something drifting through the corridors of my brain. Usually characters come from situations for me. I notice something, (like the coat hanger) and then more ideas become attached to it. A character comes into play to act or react to the situation. Then it all just grows out from there.

Ishta Mercurio said...

Congrats to the winners, although I wish one of them had been me. :-D

This is great advice. I find my characters in my dreams, and in the shadows of the people I know. They're everywhere. I wish I could just write their stories all the time.

Talli Roland said...

Fantastic advice! Sometimes we need to just get out of the way and let them come through.

Jo Schaffer said...

Even if a plot idea is cool-- I don't give a crap if the characters are flat. To me it is all about character. Mine are so real to me.

Anonymous said...

I daydream. Characters form on their own based off of what I am directly seeing as well as what is already on my subconsious. Usually after some sort of situation, a certain character appears in my head, which progresses to a daydream, and so on.
Thanks for the post!!! It was very insightful :D

Alyssa S.

Angelina said...

hmm this site is really awesome and informative to me, i am impressed by this site and really wanna share this exciting and impressive site to my friends.

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