Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys, one of the songs that inspired Iris, the protagonist of ‘A Siren’s Song’
Now that my new book ‘A Siren’s Song’ has passed the novella word-count mark and I can officially call it a novel, I wanted to take some time to discuss common myths and truths of an aspect in writer’s life that is their characters.
You ‘ve most definitely heard it by your favourite authors, your best friends or your partner. ‘I started writing and I couldn’t control them anymore. They took over and did whatever they wanted to, no matter what my plans and outline said’. That’s what you hear by authors all the time and pondering around the thought as it happened to me during the writing process of ‘A Siren’s Song’ I found some misunderstandings this phrase, and similar ones, might create for an avid reader, or for a non-reader.
Myth #1 – Multiple Personality Disorder
No! We do not have MPD. Well at least not all of us. We do not live in the United States of Tara (tv show) where any personality might erupt with the appropriate emotional stimuli. We won’t dress accordingly, nor change our voices unconsciously.
Truth #1 – Empathy
We do however have a deep emotional connection with our characters. You’ve seen it. Even readers or audience of shows have it. You can be so taken by a character’s emotional journey, you find you’re rooting for them like they’re real people and it’s real life. With writers it happens and we call it empathy. It’s our way of creating characters that will mess you up (readers) for days. We create them and their problems, and the more you create their identity, the more ‘real’ they start to be. ‘Real’ in the fictional spectrum of course. Think about it. We have to really think how a real person would react in certain situations, according to their upbringing, their nature and their traits.
Many suitors for the heart of our protagonist, Iris.
Myth #2 – Voices
No. Once again we do not have any form of psychosis. If we do it has nothing to do with this, or everything. But for most of us voices remain written. We do not have delusions or hear voices from questionable sources. Objects do not speak to us.
Truth #2 – Written Voices
A writer can be so consumed by his writing that his thought process alters. Combine it with Truth #1 and we start to look at words and situations from the eyes of our characters. We are so invested in the story, we lose our authoritative selves in the temple of literature grandeur. We stop thinking as authors, but as our own protagonists.
Iris’s story is about a duckling turning beautiful and popular.
It’s also about female competitiveness.
Myth #3 – Possession
That’s such a superstition. We do not become obsessed by any spirits. We are not inhabited by any demons and we have not sold our souls to Satan to make us successful writers. We are just THAT Good! It’s a talent that makes us write such relatable characters with strong standing and fantastic stories. We do not need any real or imaginary guy to give us the intel and buy our way in. We have written a shite-load of things, tried shite-load of ways to tell our stories and finally got the book we wanted to write all along. It was through trials, test and errors that we made awesome characters. Not Satan.
Truth #3 – It’s Spiritual
You could say it’s magical. An out of body experience, writing through point of views and becoming so enthralled by the characters that they take ‘control’. It’s very self-fulfilling and quite energetic to let your character tell a story and not ruin it with your editing voice. It’s the id, the raw, uncensored imagination on the loose.
of self and individuality as well as the self’s image and bullying.
Truth #4 – What really happens?
Combine all of the previous truths together and you’ve got the answer. It’s writing as your character not for your character. When we say they take over, they don’t literally jump out of the paper or monitor and take hold of our hands. It happens when you’re writing and although as an author you know this and that should happen to lead to this point in the story, as the character you know they wouldn’t do that, because it’s ‘out of (for lack of a better word) character’. It’s knowing they would do things this way even if it messes up their lives and even if it messes up your outline. It’s knowing to put your authority aside and let the characters you created speak for themselves through your writing.
Now if you’re wondering what sort of possession I had during the writing of ‘A Siren’s Song’, I cannot reveal as much, but this is the result: