A couple weeks ago I was reading a book by a friend of mine “Water Off a Dragon’s Back” by K E Fraser and as I turned off my kindle and rolled around to go to bed a thought struck me:
Was what I thought the characters looked like the same as what my friend thought of them as? Was I imaging her world the same as she did? Turns out what she envisioned of her characters and world was entirely different from my vision and this utterly fascinated me. (I recommend her books by the way, they’re enjoyable reads if you love fantastical romances – plus there is a dragon.)
This fascinated me because I’ve been writing Book 3 of ‘Chronicles of the Children’, and editing Book 1 of ‘The Northland Rebellion’ recently. I’ve been inside of the world of Livila for a good eighteen years now – I know the world I built rather well now, and it’s annoying sometimes, to have created a world over such a long length of time, and while I was a teenager (because I assure you, teenagers do not always make great decisions in world-building.) Thinking about my friend’s world and her characters and how I envisioned them drew me to this odd realisation:
I will never be able to read my book and experience my world and characters as a new reader. I will never have that pleasure, that joy, that incredible wonder of exploring the world I built in that exciting, thrilling way that happens when you open a book and are introduced to a new adventure.
I was…a bit sad, and a little jealous.
It became even more obvious to me this past week when I had my first ever conversation with my editor, Elle, via Google chat. We’ve talked back and forth via email for years now, but we’ve never actually chatted face-to-face. Elle is amazing. Without Elle I wouldn’t be able to release my novels, she works so hard and I am so lucky to have such an incredible editor.
While talking with Elle, she pointed out a couple interesting things about my characters that I had never thought of before.
Zinkx chuckles because he picked that up from Denvy.
Skyeola’s picking that up from Zinkx.
I have characters who sound conservative and old fashioned, and younger characters who sound modern and I need to keep it that way.
Things like that.
The more I thought about it the more I noticed such things. The characters had their individual tones and traits. How come I had stopped noticing this over the years? Was it all just becoming blurred together because I was so used to being inside the world.
I am grateful for people like Elle, who remind me to take a step back, to come outside of the sandbox and review how I am writing and why I am writing.
I don’t know how other people picture my world, nor my characters – likely entirely differently to me. I know from talking to my second cousin, her picture of Sam is vastly different from mine and that makes me really happy. I write books to expand imagination, never to limit them.
So, if you ever do read my books, feel free to tell me someday what the world looks like in your eyes. I’d be so curious to know, because I really wish I was you, able to meet Zinkx, Shanty, Sam and Skye for the first time. It would be magical.
Zinkx and I go way back now. I feel like we’re bored old friends who sometimes randomly meet up at a tavern to tell stories to each other because I’m single and he has a wife and kids and needs to get out of the house. That’s the extent of our author/character relationship.
Hopefully you all have a much better imagine of Zinkx than I do… 😀