Sunday, December 27, 2009

Character vs. Author

What to do when a character attempts to consume your soul. First, you need to show it whose boss. Flex the almighty pen or fingers and write a story where the same character is humiliated beyond anything you would do to your worst enemy. If that doesn’t work and the character begins to keep you awake at night by giving you more horrific accounts, then consider the alternative: make peace with it, thank it, maybe even make it a hero.

Throughout literature there have been several characters that live beyond the pages, particularly for those fortunate enough to portray them on screen. Take the Joker. Jack Nicholson did a wonderful job on the big screen. Of course, Jack is a bigger than life actor with his unique mannerisms and voice. I never thought anyone could top him until Heath Ledger came along and took the Joker’s character to a whole new level. Afterwards, Mr. Ledger had so much trouble getting the character out of his head that he needed a form of psychiatric treatment. I read somewhere that Jack Nicholson suggested he check himself into a hospital for a couple of weeks.

It’s strange that Mr. Nicholson was suggesting a form of character possession actually taking place. Could it be that Mr. Ledger’s untimely demise was his way of trying to actually kill the Joker? As a writer, I understand since I swear my muse has a life of its own. I wonder what things it’s done that I’m totally unaware of. Author Dean Koontz admitted to attempting to kill one of his muses. He claimed to have pushed her down a flight of stairs where she landed, he hoped, with a broken neck. Well, she managed to come back for another novel or two before he finally killed her.

I have to admit, I did interview a female vampire character of mine. I typed in the details of my adventure but a virus vanquished the evidence of our encounter. Also, I misplaced the hard copy but I recall having to interrupt the interview to take care of my necessities. Her powers seemed to force me to run to the bathroom. In retrospect, she tried to persuade me to make her the main character of the book. I told her in a polite form, that she was a bit clich├ęd. A vampire that strives to rule the world is rather old news, but she insisted she had a new twist. I told her to come back when I was stronger to stomach her accounts. She stared at me like a lioness eyeing a tasty meal. Of course, the interview was concluded with yet another visitation, on my part, to the bathroom. Perhaps she took pity on me and allowed me to survive, or maybe her ego is so large that she wants me to write her story so the world may see what’s coming for them. She’s such a nasty vampire.

My encounter with the female vampire leads me to my last suggestion, if the character is too powerful for you, run! Of course, sooner or later, it will get you, consume you, and hopefully, make you a ton of money.

Nomar Knight

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