Controlling Your Characters

Uncontrolled Fire

This photo is of my neighbor’s house fire. My home is the one in the front. Thanks to the wonderful Gladstone Fire fighters, my house survived. This fire was nothing compared to one I experienced a few years earlier when I attended a planned fire for firefighter training. 

Back then I was writing a scene in one of my novels about a fire burning a mansion. In order to better to describe a fire I had the privilege of attending an actual planned one by the Gladstone Fire Department. The firefighters were in control of burning this house. At that time I experienced many senses as I felt the heat, smelled the smoke, heard the roar of the flames, and saw the intensity of the colors of the flames, well described as fiery red, and the shades of grey in the smoke. I used the experience as best I could in my writing. That novel is still unfinished. 

A deliberate controlled fire is quite a different thing from an uncontrolled fire as you can see in this photo where the heat, the sounds, the intense colors all are magnified at least twenty times — or more.

As a writer I want to be in control of my characters and my plot. I have had some characters take off on their own and try to turn the plot for their own use. I almost always rein them in and tame them down. I find myself trying to write for my perceived readers and not allow my characters be who they want to be as they try to turn my PG13 book into …  

The Editor Ghost

As a writer I have never had “writer’s block,” but I have had to face the “editor ghost.”

Sometimes my fingers dance, but often they stumble. When ideas flow, my fingers jump for joy, until the editor ghost halts everything screaming out — “spelling error, typo, where is the comma?”  “Ah ha!” and it zaps its red marker under a word, “misspelled word!” it shrieks.  My fingers halt, backtrack; and finally give up and hit the ctr alt del keys to log off.  “We just can’t get it right” they sigh; “lets play spider, we nearly always win at that.”  The editor ghost laughs and fades back into its evil Microsoft Word spell and grammar-checking abode, content at its success. “The pages must be correct and sentence structure proper to be allowed on one of our. docs” it sneers.  “We are only here to help you,” growls Mr. Punctuation; “you wouldn’t dare turn us off,” laughs Mrs. Spell Check.  Ideas fade and the dancing fingers retreat into the Spider’s web.

Why Blog?

A dear friend asked me why I wanted to take a class to learn how to blog. I mumbled some kind of response to her about my own reasons. Most of my blogging classmates have begun their blogs for seventeen to thirty different reasons (some of us have multiple reasons). In the last three weeks I have met (through their blogs) some amazing people of all ages who have already begun to share their wonderful amazing lives. This small group is sharing and reflecting all the joys, adventures, suffering, challenges, hopes, dreams, creativity, and imaginations of being a human being. The wonder of being. Maybe that is why people blog.