Today on StuckInBooks, I am happy to have Jackie Gamber with us. Her new book Sela, the sequel to Redheart, is releasing soon.
So I've always been curious about where the characters come from in a book. I mean do they walk into your head fully made or are they developed over time? Here's Jackie's answer.
Through the Kaleidoscope – Where Characters Come From
By Jackie Gamber, author of REDHEART and SELA, The Leland Dragon Series
Kaleidoscope: [kuh-lahy-duh-skohp] an optical instrument in which bits of glass, in a rotating tube, are shown in continually changing symmetrical forms by reflection in mirrors set at angles to each other.
There’s a line of thinking that claims in our dreams, all the characters are different aspects of our self. I can only speak to that by saying, I hope not! If dreams are stories, I don’t want to keep meeting only me over and over again.
There’s also been talk among authors that our writing contains characters that are all different aspects of our self. To this, I can speak with my own authority. Nope.
That’s not to say bits of me don’t slip in here and there. I’m sure that’s the case. Art is too personal an experience for the creator to escape altogether.
But I know where my characters come from, and I’d guess that for most writers, it’s similar. They come from The Kaleidoscope.
The Kaleidoscope tends to be hard-wired into writers’ brains. I know it is in mine. The tube is attached at one end to an observation deck, somewhere around the middle of the forehead. All of life (in particular, people) filters through this observation deck, clatters through the tube, and settles at the other end as little shards of colored glass. Mirrors reflect these shards back and forth against each other, showing shapes and undersides, dark and light spots.
All a writer has to do, then, is twist that tube, and life and its people jumble together into all kinds of fodder for characters.
For me, twisting that tube is both a voluntary and involuntary response, much like breathing. I can decide to take a deep, cleansing breath, and I can also rely on my lungs to keep purring along, awake or asleep, grabbing on to oxygen and shoveling it into my blood even when I don’t remember to think about it.
In the same way, my Kaleidoscope is always spinning, turning, exploring. All those observations flip back and forth, mirrored against each other. Sometimes, all that internal work creates a character that spontaneously forms and introduces itself to me, demanding its own life story. Other times, I have a story idea and I need to go rummaging through the colored glass for characters that need a little more motivation.
Either way, writing is really only one part of the process of storytelling. Much of the work begins ahead of time, maybe even years ahead. Experiencing. Observing. Collecting. Saving up bits of colored memories.
Because, although all stories contain characters, the best characters are the ones with their own stories. To find them, and use them to their potential, I, as a writer, only need to look as far as the end of my Kaleidoscope.
Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of “Redheart” and “Sela”, Books One and Two of the Leland Dragon Series, now available! For more information, visit Jackie’s Amazon author page at http://amazon.com/author/jackiegamber
And meet Jackie and her mosaic mind elsewhere on the world wide web at:
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Isn't it beautiful! Wanta see inside?
Now you wanta see some images from inside Jackie's Kaleidoscope?
If you haven't read Redheart, checkout my review here.
Interested in getting Sela? Do that here.