Characters are a lot like children by Mike Hartner
I made this mistake the first time I tried to write. I had this idea for a fiction in the 1970s and 80s. The main characters were to be twentysomethings, and the first outline said that 22-year-old boy meets 22-year-old girl, and the two go do some important things. Simple, right? Create the boy and his family. Make the path to the big city where the novel was set a straight line... let him meet the girl there, and voila! Everything early is solved. And the two protagonists can go solve the mysteries of the world together.
(*SIGH*) And then, I sat down to write the novel. The male was born in Hawaii... so getting him to the big city was not a direct path. The female was born in Chicago... she was also going to the big city, but needed a reason. After all Chicago was big enough. And rather than take the direct path, and go do what I expected, both of them went off on their own tangent lines.
The direct line to the Big City...New York City, in this case...was anything BUT straight or direct. And the adventures in other parts added to their many character layers.
Understand…I created these characters. They are something I’d been thinking about in my own mind for some time. And then I set their births to paper.
And All H! broke loose. I didn’t plan on the male adventures with base jumping, or surfing. I didn’t plan on the female being exposed to the EVIL forces, or criminal elements or a neighbour whose parents insisted their daughter learn about ALL of the world’s religions in increments of one or two years. These are things I NEVER would have considered for either of them. And yet, they were things that the protagonists themselves told me about their upbringing.
Every time I wrote a scene, and let it sit for a few days, the protagonists would tap me on the arm and say, “Well, that’s not quite how it happened...” And I would need to go back and set the record straight. One such event in the male’s life dragged out for three or four weeks until it was ‘accurate’ according to the protagonist’s memory. And my mental response was ‘Why didn’t you just say this in the first place?’ And the smart-ass response was, ‘You never asked.’
And yes, I know I sound schizophrenic because I believe my characters are real. But, if you are an author, or close to one, you probably also understand that scenario. And I freely admit to listening to my characters as I’m writing their story down. They are REAL…to me anyway.
And characters, like children, hate being told what to do. And they like carving their own path into your heart and your story.
So, for you authors out there, feel free to plot and scheme (read: outline and plan). But, don’t be surprised if your characters decide to go a different way, and make the story more rich and enjoyable. Have fun doing it.
Oh, and the story? Never got published. But not for the reasons you’re thinking. No, the simple reason this story got put aside is because it was meant to be part of a series. And it comes towards the end of that series. So, obviously you need to write the beginning first. And the beginning is I, Walter.
I, Walter is the first in a series of books in a saga which will span continents and time to arrive in present day North America.
Each in the series will be connected, though that connection may not be obvious for several more books.
It's almost like looking at a menorah (sic). Many lines, seemingly individual, connect to center at different points.
Walter Crofter was born into Elizabethan England.
In a country and a time where favor and politics were both deadly, can an honest boy stay true to himself?
Especially given his family background?
About the Author
Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.
· 224 pages
· Genre: Historical Fiction
· Age: Young Adult
· Available from: Amazon.com
· ASIN: B00C7FJ7B4
"I, Walter is a grand tale of adventure that reminds me of the Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin adventure series but with a noble innocence and, a most refreshing, charming slant. Romance, adventure, mystery, rescues, deception, and vivid descriptions make I, Walter a most enjoyable and inspirational read of chivalry. This CBR reviewer looks forward to reading more of the Crofter saga from Mike Hartner" Chanticleer Book Reviews
“This book truly is New York Best-seller material!" Charity Langley, Author
Giving away ONE copy of "I, Walter"
Readers choice: ebook, audio, or print (International ebook or audio book only)
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