On Writing: Fictional characters are anything but…

To write fictional characters, we must know them, inside and out, before we can feel empathy for them, and before we can understand why and how they will do the things that we will make them do, and say the words that we will make them say.

In other words, we must believe that they are real flesh and blood, with all of the wonders and foibles that go along with that. Only then, can we really write them in any meaningful way. This is nothing new to any writer worth their salt, right? And of these knowing writers, who does he/she choose to analyze the most? The writer’s self: as Confucius say – no matter where you go, there you are.

We are not just students of the human condition. We are our own subject matter. How we operate. How we relate, articulate, disseminate the world, our lives, our wants, our needs. And what of our secret selves? The histories, the pain, the faded and vivid memories, the disappointments, the yearnings, the unchartered dreams, the joys? The stuff that shapes us, the stuff that we never show and tell? Our interior lives – where the most fascinating secrets dwell to influence how we choose to live and the paths we take.

Stories of self can come to life in three-dimensional worlds that make meaning of experience, and hopefully generate empathy and connection with others. Removing the shield of author, and stripping away the mechanisms that hide the fragility of a human being alone, we know what we experienced, and we know how it felt. How we looked out at the world and the people in it, how we continue to do that.

The difference between being a child as opposed to being an adult is that, as the former, we are powerless to our fate, and powerless to change anything. Becoming the latter enables empowerment to not only steer our own course, but more importantly, to change our ways of thinking, reacting and of just being.

The fictional life is no different. And it is the challenge for the writer to pick away at those layers of being until exposing that space between what is seen in the character’s exterior life, and what is hidden in their interior one. The secret place of the human condition that exposes the reasoning behind our every action, and towards those surprises and discoveries that will lead us to chart a compelling arc for our character.

 

This article first appeared in Writers And Authors

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I am a writer and filmmaker from Dublin, Ireland. Author of the award-winning novel, LADY BETH, I have recently written and directed the short film FRAMED (2018). I am also the screenwriter and co-producer of IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013)

FRAMED: The Trailer is up!

I am delighted to release the trailer of my directorial debut. Big hugs of gratitude to all who collaborated with me to make this happen. To find out more about the cast and crew, please visit our Facebook page at the link below…

 

FRAMED, a Short Film 

 

More news coming soon!

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I am also the author of the novels LADY BETH which won the award for BEST NOVEL at the Carousel Aware Prize and ARKYNE, STORY OF A VAMPIRE, I have also written several feature-length and short screenplays including ADAM [2013] and the multi-award winner, IN RIBBONS [2015].

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Swirl and Thread: Irish Writers Wednesday

It was an absolute pleasure to chat to Mairead from Swirl and Thread.

Grab a cuppa tea or coffee, put the feet up and check out her lovely blog, with lots of great book reviews, author features and guest posts.

READ HERE

FRAMED, a product of my morbid curiosity!

The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air

From ‘Haunted Houses’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
1807-1882

I am a sucker for haunted houses. I absolutely believe that bricks and mortar hold memories – like recordings – of past lives, echoes of presence and pain. But not necessarily pain – or any of the bad stuff! How many times have you entered an old house for the first time to feel totally at ease and content there?

Sometimes however, the complete opposite is true, and the only urge you might have is to get the hell out of there as quickly as you can! Unless you have a morbid curiosity, as I do…

As my character ‘Joe’ does …

Joe (Patrick Murphy) Photograph by Errol Farrell. 2018

I have just finished directing a short film called FRAMED, about a talented gothic artist whose fantasy is to paint his beautiful muse into one of his grotesque paintings. His wish is about to be granted, though not in a way that he could ever have imagined…

FRAMED is set in a rambling old house, and more information about the film and the gifted cast and crew I had the pleasure of working with can be found on the Facebook page: HERE 

Watch this space, FRAMED is coming soon!

NinnyHammer Productions. 2018

Caroline E. Farrell is the author of the novels, LADY BETH, winner of the Carousel Prize for Best Novel, 2017, and ARKYNE, STORY of a VAMPIRE. She has also written and co-produced the short films IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013).