Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Post - Meeting up with an old friend: How characters are sometimes created by Sara Walsh

Guest Post by Auhtor Sara Walsh

Meeting up with an old friend: How characters are sometimes created.

I’m often asked how I create my characters. The answer is that it depends.  A character has to compliment the novel you want to write--events in the story will evolve from their choices and actions. But sometimes a character and a story simply don’t match, no matter how much you want them to. And long before I wrote The Dark Light, I created a character called Mia Stone who was a great example of that.
I’d planned to write a dark and creepy novel about a girl who makes a deal with a demon in order to save her life. That young woman was Mia. About halfway through writing, it was clear that something wasn’t working. I realized that the problem was Mia.  She just didn’t fit! She was bright and inquisitive, and could too easily shrug off the problems I was throwing at her. She had a lightness that didn’t fit with the atmosphere I wanted to create. I hated to let her go, because she was such fun to be around. And I hated to change what I loved about her, simply to make her fit the story. Not sure what to do, I moved on to write something else.
Several years later, I was on a road trip from Kansas City to Wyoming and was talking about a news event about a young boy who’d suddenly reappeared almost a decade after mysteriously vanishing. We were out on the plains, and the story got me thinking about all the ways a person could vanish in such wide open spaces. What might really be out there? That’s when I came up with the basic idea behind The Dark Light: A young boy vanishes and his sister resolves to find him. But who could that sister be?
I needed a character who didn’t have all the answers but who wasn’t afraid to do whatever it took to get her brother back. I needed someone who was independent and determined, so we could watch how she’d adapt when totally out of her element. And I needed someone who was fun. The story was going to have plenty of fantasy and romance and adventure. Someone ponderous and deep thinking just wasn’t going to fit.
That’s when I remembered Mia. Everything about the story fell into place as soon as I thought of her. Mia belonged in the The Dark Light! This was her story! So, characters can come into being in all kinds of strange ways. Sometimes, it just takes a while for them to find their right place.

The Dark Light
Jacket Copy & Author Bio

Jacket Copy
Mysterious lights have flickered above Crownsville for as long as Mia can remember. And as far as she's concerned, that's about the only interesting thing to happen in her small town.

That is, until Sol arrives. Mia's not one to fall for just any guy, but she can't get Sol--or the brilliant tattoo on his back--out of her mind.

Then Mia's brother goes missing, and Mia's convinced that Sol knows more than he's sharing. But getting closer to Sol means reevaluating everything Mia once believed to be true. Because Sol's not who Mia thought he was--and neither is she.

Sara Walsh is British, but happily lives in Annapolis, Maryland. She graduated college with a degree in psychology, but soon decided that telling stories was much more fun. When not writing, Sara is usually reading, drowning in tea, or frolicking around town with the world's cutest St. Bernard. The Dark Light is her first novel.

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