character development // how jaxen and the writer are doing

Hey y’all!

I read something recently that really spoke to me. I went and dug it up because I think it’s important for today.

Every good writer knows that the characters they create have a certain extension of themselves written into them. What I wanted to explore today was how my characters have grown since the moment of their birth on May 12, 2018. Additionally, I am going to explore the attachment between myself and the characters. They aren’t real, but they are real. Obviously they’re not conveyed perfectly, but that’s not what I wanted. I want them to be able to be real for people.

Writing bits of yourself into characters is a good and needed thing. I believe that’s how beloved authors throughout time have done it, and we should carry the tradition forward. Stick thoughts into that side character. Maybe that one will have your hair. Heck, some of the famous authors named their favorite character after themselves! Jane Bennet in Pride and Prejudice is believed to have been named after Jane Austen!

Ask yourself what it is that makes you love people. What is it that makes you despise someone? Write it in to your characters. Take what you know, and make it your own. No one likes a flat character. Make them human.

or not human because elves exist and we love a good elf. but be sure to make them relatable elves. or a cyborg. or whatever.

My novel, Mirage of Shards, was born (apparently) on May 12th, 2018. I say “apparently” because I have no memory of it. I remember sitting in the car in the middle-ish of the night with my computer, trying to think of something to work on. It’s starting to come back a little, but still, not much clue as to how it came about.

It has been 20 months since then, and I have 70,000 words written. It has changed names several times. At one point, I thought “ooh I could make it a trilogy” but I realized quickly I didn’t have the mental stamina for that. XD By October of 2018, I had enough of a plan to begin writing the book for NaNoWriMo the next month. November 1st, I began my writing journey with one stellar sentence.

The sound of explosions shook the foundations of the city.

*gags* The entire paragraph at the start of chapter one is nightmare fuel, but honestly that’s okay. I’m not editing until it’s completely drafted, so we’ll have to revisit that. Still, it is monumental that I have come this far. My first real novel, Brietta of Skylas was only forty thousand words long, and I didn’t even finish the draft.

One of the reasons why I think Mirage of Shards is so special is that this is the first novel I’ve written that I have completely given it to the Lord. What He wants to write, it’ll come out onto the paper. I trust Him in that. Believe me, He’s the one who knows what He’s doing here, not me. 🙂

In that same vein, I believe the characters have been kind of “gifted” to me, in a way. Brietta, the protagonist of my first novel, was great for the time because I looked up to her in a way. She was the image of rising above circumstances and saving people’s lives. She was royalty. Probably a little cheesy, but she was what 13-year-old Maddy needed to write about.

This is Jaxen Flaherty for me now.

After making the comparison to Brietta above, I realized that Jaxen is a different version of her. He has risen above his circumstances and is now saving people’s lives, whether he knows it or not. The only difference is setting, of course, and the fact that he is choosing to pursue emotional healing over just ignoring it and moving forward in life. He knows he can’t be blissfully unaware, so he faces it. Rather than letting it fester, he addresses it. Unlike Brietta, Jaxen is being a smart, mature human. i mean there’s stuff that probably isn’t smart for him either but we’re ignoring that for the time being hahahaaaaa

Jaxen’s story is what I need to write nowadays. I need a story of hope. I need a story of healing. Yes, there is darkness, but there is darkness in my world, too. I know the end of my story, and it ends with being fully healed and fully home. I need Jaxen to end his in the same fashion.

That being said, my sweet child was not always what he is for me now. The apathetic child was a bit of a struggle for me to write at the beginning because I didn’t entirely like how he was. I knew it would get better, but his head was in a bad spot that I didn’t really like too much.

Despite his lovely ironic and snarky side, did i talk about how characters have pieces of the author in them Jaxen curled up in his pain and wanted to stay there. But God stepped in, making Himself known and changing up Jaxen’s normal, somewhat destructive lifestyle. Jaxen, sweet child though he was, needed a miracle.

One of the things I made myself promise to do was not mask pain in this story. I think I’ve held that up so far, but the reason why I did that was to allow myself to bleed on the paper. I think it was Ernest Hemingway who said something like “Being a writer is easy, you just find a piece of paper and bleed.” Although I am a very emotional person, I tend to shut parts of it away in order to make it okay or pretty. I did not want that in this novel, under any circumstance.

Emotion, whatever your opinion on it, is a gift meant to be used to glorify God. Obviously with parameters, but nevertheless, it is needed. When something is real or realistic, it isn’t stale. I don’t want my writing to be stale. God needs to be able to work through it. Jaxen needs to be able to cry. I need to be able to cry. (spoiler alert: I have cried a lot writing this book, mostly because of how I see God moving in it.)

Woo, I’ve been a bit rambly today, but I think it was for a good purpose. Jaxen has become one of my favorite people to write. He is so available and easy to reflect myself in. While I can’t wait to edit this novel, I am having such a good time just throwing stuff at the Google Doc.

Little resolutions update before we go: things are going well! I’ve used my bullet journal consistently, gotten lots of sleep, and I’ve kept my bible streak going all month long so far. I also have exercised every single day, and just recently started a really intense two week challenge because I thought I was “ready.” The only thing I’m ready for right now is death. XDDD In all seriousness, it’s crazy hard but I am already seeing results that I’m in love with. My body is super happy, y’all. I don’t know what’s happened. 🙂

Go forth, mis amigos and amigas, and smile. Your day is just beginning. Make the best of it. Don’t procrastinate. Work hard. Make me proud. 🙂

Love you all,

Madeleine 

2 thoughts on “character development // how jaxen and the writer are doing

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