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Character Creation

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"The bad novelist constructs his characters; he directs them and makes them speak. The true novelist listens to them and watches them act; he hears their voices even before he knows them." ~*~André Gide


I rather like that quote.

It reminds me of Lorac.

Several years before I knew his name, he showed up in my head. All I knew about him was that he was insane and he was obsessed with Alec. Sometimes he was old, sometimes younger. He always had long white blond hair though. And he was always powerful. He sought out Alec always trying to get to him, always trying to be with him. But he wouldn't tell me why.

When I started to finally sketch out Alec's world he gave me his name, and insisted that he was apart of it. In creating the mythology and the background of Alec's people, he informed me that he had a significant part and that Alec was the reason for his madness. He told me that he did not live in the same time as Alec but before him in a different city. Thus Pentarch was discovered.

My first attempts at figuring out how Alec drove Lorac insane were feeble attempts. I knew, from what Lorac told me, that Alec was a student of his. So, I tried to build their relationship as student and teacher. Alec originally staying in a dormitory. But these stories never worked. Alec's mere existence and being an annoying prat was not enough to drive a man insane.

So, I started writing several smaller pieces involving the two of them. One piece that appeared to be recurring was a scene of Lorac tending to Alec in his sick bed. Lorac was always very tender and gentle with the sick Alec, never leaving his side. He would touch Alec, brushing his hair back and worry about him. I don't know how many times I wrote that scene out in different variations, but finally I came to the realization: Lorac was in love with Alec.

After that everything just clicked. Everything made sense. Lorac went insane from his love of Alec. I remember that moment when it clicked. I said to myself out loud, "Oh my God, he's in love with Alec."

Ever since that point Lorac has been more than forth coming and helping me with the series of novels I'm writing.

Contrasting this, another thought that popped into my mind when I read that quote, was Paolini's quote of "Characters are born out of necessity". Which puts into mind the idea that he's just filling in the blanks. He needs someone to do something so he creates a doll, sticks a name on it and puts it the story, pushing it along like a puppet. The character has no life or free will. It has no voice.

Some of the characters seem to try and free themselves from Paolini's writing. Angela, when coming to the Varden removes her self from the action. There's no reason for her to be there, except because Paolini wants her to be there. So she hides. Murtagh allows himself to be written out of the book entirely. Saphira, even, struggles as we see her personality swerve all over the place as she tries to find a voice.

But they are mere puppets with no lives of their own. No concerns or desires. They are stationary until Paolini needs them to move.

Essay
Essays

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