Hi Everyone, I'm very excited to be part of Carly Anne's West Blog Tour of The Murmurings. Carly has very kindly written a guest post on "Influence of Main Characters"! This guest post is very intriguing and one of my favourites, enjoy! But first here is little bit about the book:
Title - The Murmurings
Author - Carly Anne West
Genre - YA
Publisher - Simon Pulse
Release Date - March 5th 2013
Everyone thinks Sophie’s sister, Nell, went crazy. After all, she heard strange voices that drove her to commit suicide. But Sophie doesn’t believe that Nell would take her own life, and she’s convinced that Nell’s doctor knows more than he’s letting on.
As Sophie starts to piece together Nell’s last days, every lead ends in a web of lies. And the deeper Sophie digs, the more danger she’s in—because now she’s hearing the same haunting whispers. Sophie’s starting to think she’s going crazy too. Or worse, that maybe she’s not…
Influence of Main Characters (Carly Anne West)
Are you shouting at your book? Good.
I think in most authors, there exists this tendency to take it too far, to fall off the cliff with their writing, and to bring their characters with them. The hope, of course, is that they’re bringing their readers along for the fall as well. And when you all land at the bottom, there’s someplace awesome (or gruesome, or strange) to go. And that for better or worse, you’re all journeying there together. That’s where the whole book-shouting thing comes in.
You see this a lot in horror movies. Character hears a noise in the basement. Character knows the noise won’t be the cat she’s hoping it will be. The cat is next to her on the couch. The cat is too old to make it down the stairs. There is no cat. And so the character, driven by curiosity and a desperate need to dispel the notion of evil in the basement that she’s conjured, ventures toward the danger we in the audience know exists, the danger we all know she knows exists. And we commence screaming at the screen. Are you nuts? Seriously, are you out of your ever-loving mind? Do NOT go in the basement! And though we’re shouting at her, pleading with her not to open that door, not to descend those stairs, let’s be honest. If we could crawl into the movie, we’d push her toward those stairs ourselves, all the while begging her not to go. Because we really, really want to know what’s down there. We know it’s not good, and that’s exactly why we need to see it. We also need to see how our heroine is going to get herself out of the inevitable mess she’s entered into. How she deals is just as important as – if not more important than –what she’s dealing with.
In our ordinary lives, we make decisions every day. We choose this lane over that, the large over the small, the yellow over the green. We make mundane decisions, and occasionally, we get to make important ones – decisions with romantic, financial or entertaining outcomes. Rarely do most of us make massive decisions. There are those who decide life or death, whether or not they’d like to. There are some who get to push the all-important button. But for most of us, it’s the choice between paper or plastic. Our characters, though – our beautiful, otherworldly, seemingly ordinary and almost always unaware characters – often make extraordinary decisions, choices of epic consequence. And once those choices are made, we see how a character evolves, how she untangles herself from the web she’s walked into.
As authors, we have a task at hand when we endeavor to write a story. We are charged with creating characters with breath and life and motivation. This animation of a person – a person made entirely of words – must not only carry a story; he or she must evoke something in the reader. Something about his or her life in the book has to leave the confines of the pages and enter the realm of the reader’s living mind. Something about the choices he or she makes has to hit the reader with enough force to punch a scream straight from the reader’s gut. It’s my dearest, strongest, most deeply held hope that readers of whatever I write put the story down with a head heavy and full of the thoughts, feelings and experiences of at least one of the characters in that story. Even if you didn’t like what she did. Even if you hated him for how he handled that. Even if it is evil and wrong and still a tad sympathetic. Because ultimately, these reactions are human, and if you’re yelling at your book as though it contains humans, too, then we as authors have succeeded.
But don’t just yell at your book. Books need love, too. Hug it. Let it know you only yell because you care.