Like this piece of art by Koh Sang Woo entiled ‘kiss’ inspiration for character development can be found anywhere either by accident or on purpose.
The two main characters in my story arrived from some odd places.
Alastar Whybow was a friend of mine in a role-play game I played on-line. I never knew his real name, but I found later that he had past due to cancer about 6 months after I had moved on from the game with graduating from my graduate program.
I used to sit doing my academic work with the game going in the background for hours. I was either at work or studying at my computer for a few years. The game gave me a sense of being in a relaxing place – a home of sorts. That home was inhabited by other people who were real, but who preferred to live as personas in a role-play world, living out their dreams. Some like my friend met his wife within this world and they again meet in real life and married, just as they had in the game. Cancer was not part of this story-line that took him. He had said good bye and then his ‘avie’ or character disappeared. Many remembered his kindness, his eccentric approach to life and his magic at role-playing in our steam punk Victorian world. He was timeless. I could chat causally for hours with him about many subjects. His quick wit always was humorous and to the point. He also went through quite a few shoppe girls within his jewelry shop, where he made exquisite jewelry for fellow role-players to wear in the game. I was one of them, who purchased a beautiful broach from him and wore it always with my many bustled Victorian gowns. He was a gentle man and a discrete lover of women – he was a modern day Renaissance Man. A skilled conversationalist and a good friend. He was Magick. (I changed his name ever so slightly within my story).
Whybow the character then was born from my interactions with my friend. I can feel, touch and taste him as I write the story, when it comes to what I know about this skilled magician. I know of his ethics, his sense of self worth and his trust in his skills. I know his good side and his bad side. I can feel how he makes his choices within the life he leads in the story-line. His dedication to both the Great Work and toward his constant magus companion, Edita Plotke. So it is easy to write about his actions within the plot, actually Mr. Whybow writes his own lines…. it is that easy. So taking a personality from personal life and placing it within a new story-line environment can be satisfying. The richness of the character comes through. The character breaths with life, just as characters should.
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The other main character was harder to write. At first writing Candice le Wilde was to me writing about a very shallow person who just went through the moves of acting out a play. I had seen some fantasy art of a very sexual looking 20 something blond woman that I tried to ‘dig’ into with what ‘ifs’. I then found a recent photo of a couple within a very provocative embrace sitting atop each other on some steps outdoors. Again I had to dig again into the photo to find her and her motivations within the story-line.
As I wrote Candice into the story she did find her voice, finally. OK, that only took about 15 chapters! So at this point, now that I knew her, I had to figure out how to get her flavor into the first chapters where she was both new to the story and new to me!
I continue to go back over the previous chapters and read them again to sense, to see if she was there within her lines and actions. Just a technique I use to help the character find themselves and join up with where at least for me the character became conscious. I use photos of who I think they would look like. Also photos of where I think they would go to engage in what I think they would value and love in life. Since Candice is not a real person I have known or ever met – the formation of this character is harder. Another reason is I have met very few people within my personal circles who are overtly sexual. I am sure there are plenty of souls out there who emanate sex with each action and breath without thought. I am always on the look out.
I have met recently a co-worker who will be making an appearance in the story-line. He is a very interesting character full of contradictions, who will be perfect to assist Candice and Whybow when a climatic part of the story occurs. I have the opportunity to work and talk with this man on a weekly basis – he reeks of intellectual thought and a darker side. The darker side was surprising and what gave me the idea to include him. Also he became the pivotal energy/character to move the plot in the right direction. I will be exploring with this character the use of natural evil to move life toward a positive outcome. To experience ‘a live and let live’ approach to life – without the character moving to change in anyway their dark view point of life.
In another blog entry I will discuss more about Edita Plotke and the time I found a photograph of her and her previous lover. The photo is amazing – I actually said out loud it is YOU Edita!
…til next blog entry