Monday, February 4, 2008

The Birth of a Story: More Thoughts on Mira

Stories are strange creatures in that I doubt that any one comes into the being in the same way. Sometime they were born with the initial intentionl of being a novel, or even the first novel in a longer series. And sometimes they were meant to only be a short story, but something magical happened alongs they way and they transformed and reached beyond their fate.

Nightwalker had a strange start. I was between projects at the time and I was looking for something to experiment with. I needed to strengthen a few writing techniques and the book was meant to only be a short story that was little more than a writing practice. Never intended for publication.

And oddly enough, the story started with Danaus. He is my other main character. I wanted to write a story where a male character was my lead, mainly because most of my stories don't center on male charaters and I sometimes worry that I can't convincingly write them. I believe that you most likely write the gender that you are the best simply because you've got an intimate knowledge of that gender. But Danaus was going to be an experiment. I wanted the story to be about Danaus and told from first person point of view, but the storyteller wasn't Danaus, though the story would be focused entirely on him. Yeah, I like to make things complicated for myself.

Danaus took a couple months to flesh out in my mind. I needed the time to figure out who he was, why he was that person, motives, history, personality, demeanor, etc.

However, something strange happened when the storyteller opened her mouth for the first time. I knew exactly who she was. She stepped forward fully formed, complete with attitude and psychoses. Mira turned out to be a composite of more than dozen short stories, writing prompts and practices that will never see the light of day. Each time this female character appeared in something I was working on, her personality would change just a little; her voice, her history, her mannerism would be tweaked. Until she finally rose up out of the foam like Venus on her clamshell, beautiful and deadly.

Yes, Mira is dark and can be gruff and cold at times. But then, she lives in a dark, cold world. Her species is brutal, heartless, and in many ways self-centered, but she sees something within her species worth protecting; a glimmer of something beautiful. At heart, Mira is a protector desperately searching for something worth protecting in a world that hates a hero.


Christine said...

Let me get this straight...... When you started with this story, Mira was the voice for telling Danaus' story, but Mira's character began to outshine his, and now Nightwalker is all about Mira? She stole the show? Sweet! I like her already! ;)

daydream said...

Wow! Weird how it happens. I never ever experienced something like that apart from two characters that resurface in my writing almost everywhere and have evolved on the course of the first one 7 years, while the other for one year. But nothing as interesting as this.

Freedom Star said...

Strange how these things happen. I have stories I intended to be shorts, or a brief one page scene, and it turns into half a notebook or tons of word docs. But this is interesting, how the main character is not who you thought it to be. Will we ever get to see a part of the original story? Danaus' story from Miras POV?

on a small sidenote, how's the website coming along?

Jocelynn said...

Yeah, Mira likes to be the center of attention and there's not much I can do about it. However, I am planning to coerce Danaus into the limelight. It may just take a little while. I have to get a few things accomplished before I can get around to letting Danaus speak in his own voice.

Sadly, I'm back to square one with the website. Sorry. I'm trying to figure something out. My own goal is to have something posted before my first conference in April.

Mira said...

I know those other comments are a little older and I'm off topic, I think, but I had to find a thread, which fits a little to my strange experience I had today...
I walked into a press-store in Berlin, Station Friedrichstra├če (Germany) with a friend, who wanted to buy a journal. So I waited and looked around. I laid my eyes on a pile of different books and just one cover - I don't know why - caught my attention: Nightwalker.
That's not really strange to this point, but I turned the book and read the text on the backside (in German): "Mit eiserner Hand wacht die Vampirin Mira..." Then I stopped...
Now you have to know: My Name is MIRA! ;)
That's strange, isn't it?
I bought the book and now I'm curious what happens in this book, even if it's odd to read my name in there and all over this thread! ;)
Greetings from Berlin!