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.

A Day in the Life of a Troll

(continued from Troll Union — a little more about how Trolls live)

Lodi and his wife did not live in the building where he had met and entertained Mr. Brown. That building was a condominium those of his kind used when they had business or work in the city. Lodi lived in a community of Trolls in the Tillamook forest area. Their homes were secluded in the forests, generally on or near one of the many creeks in the coastal mountains. Humans generally bypassed the forests in the bullet trains that got them from Portland to the coastal cities in about half an hour. The Naval bases and large population supporting them were primarily in Astoria, Newport, and Coos Bay. Much of the ocean view area was dedicated to vacation homes and hotels.
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The Fairies

Another scene from “If They Were Real – what things might look like if non-human peoples lived among us.

Samantha patted on the pillow next to hers. “Sit here Mama, I’m ready for my book.” As her mother climbed up on the bed beside her, she handed her an old worn blue book with dog-eared corners.

She turned the book to the cover that read “Fairy Tales,” and asked, “where did you find this book dear?”

“Upstairs in the book shelf in the spare room. It has such lovely pictures, please read me a story Mama.”

Her mother opened the book and flipped through a few pages. “I remember this from when I was a very young child,” she mused out loud, “I didn’t know I still had it.”

“What is the book Mama, what are the stories?”

“They are fairy tales, made up stories. A tale is a story, we don’t use that word much now, instead we say story.”
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