Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Birthing Characters

Dallan MacDonald

Dallan was an interesting character to create and he took quite awhile to boot. Taking my time and wanting him to be as real as possible, there was a lot of research involved. But in the end, after numerous Highland games, speaking with Scots of different clans and about a year of getting into this characters head, the thing all writers strive for during character creation happened. Life.

When a character comes to life it can be a sudden thing, or it can take a while. Dallan, while giving him a trial run, lasted about a couple of pages before springing into action and taking charge. It was quite an interesting phenomenon to say the least. Probably because I myself had never spent so much time in the creative process with one character, and because I'd never had one do that before. Just take over. So once I got used to it, I was able to just let him "do his thing". Some of the other characters from Time Masters also hit the pages running and there was no problem once they got going. Kwaku Awahnee is one, but we will discuss him in another post. Suffice to say, Dallan is the glue which holds Time Masters together so well. Readers identify with him readily and he's not the perfect hero which makes him all the more real to us. With his piercing green eyes and drill bit stare he so often throws at Kwaku, not to mention the rest of the TM characters, he becomes interesting. And of course, the things Dallan says to Kwaku are also interesting. "Ye good for nothing bloody heathen!" will more than likely find it's way onto a tee shirt one day if a reader hasn't done it already. And of course, "Saints!" as our boy does his best not to swear, though it slips out in his native Gaelic now and again. And Dallan shares with many of us something in life we try to avoid at all costs, even to the point of sabotaging ourselves in order to prevent confronting it. Rejection. And though his runs deep, he is able to overcome. With a bit of help of course.

After reading Time Masters, Book One: The Call, (we have all started calling it TM1 for short) folks are so swept up with him they say they can barely touch the ground once the story has ended. I guess I'd better get to writing TM2! I wouldn't want anyone to land with a resounding thud as Dallan does a few times in TM1!

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