The Bridgebury Blog

The story of a girl and her books.

Month: April, 2013

Passionate Characters

I like words. I like writing, I like reading, I like rolling new words around on my tongue, in my mind. As a corollary, I like punctuation. I think I’m going to get a semi-colon tattoed on my wrist, because I just like semi-colons that much. (I really really do.)

On the other hand, my fiance likes video games. He is a pro at call of duty, but even more impressive is his ability to watch the market on EVE online for hours at a time looking for someone who has priced their spaceship for sale low enough that he can make some ISK off buying it and selling it at the market price. And he loves doing that sort of thing. He’s done it in every MMO video game that he’s ever played.

I can’t understand how he finds that search so engrossing that he can spend hours doing it, and I don’t think he quite understands how I can sometimes spend a whole say sitting on our living room couch, reading.

The point I’m trying to make here, is that I believe that everyone has one (or maybe two, or three, but at least one) thing that they love doing, that they can lose themselves in for hours at a time. Everyone. And it may not make sense to you, you may not understand how they get their enjoyment out of it, but they do, and the feeling of enjoyment, of flow, is much the same, no matter what the activity is. This goes for people, but I also believe that it goes for characters as well.

The main character of my novel-in-progress, Rowan, is a ship designer. She loves sketching airships, loves making sure that all the parts inside fit and work together to create a great flying machine. This is the job that she wants to do for the rest of her life; this is the thing that she loves doing. When she has free time, when she is alone, this is what she likes to do.

Don’t get me wrong, Rowan is a lot of other things. I spent hours and hours trying to figure out this character, planning her physical appearance and personality and family ties before I realized what she loved doing – and the thing is, it’s what she wants to do with her free time that told me the most about her. It’s the thing that she wants to do that informs what choices she’ll make, how her family treats her, which will off course in turn affect her as well… And so on an so forth.

The point I’m trying to make here is that its a shallow kind of character that doesn’t have wants, likes, and goals. That doesn’t have a passion. Because who do you know that doesn’t have a passion for something?

I Need A Reason for Boston

I didn’t really want to write a blog post about the events surrounding the Boston Marathon. I probably shouldn’t. I’ve got no ownership of the tragedy; I don’t live in Boston, I might run a marathon, eventually, but that’s a hazy sort of dream at the moment. My dad is going to try to qualify for the Boston Marathon next year, and I admire that. But I didn’t lose anything, I’m sure I have no clue what the people of Boston are going through right now, mentally. I’m also no expert on crime or terrorism or safety. So what on earth could I possibly have to contribute to the subject? Not much.

And yet, I feel like it would be disrespectful, somehow, to write the post that I had planned for today, considering what’s going on.
I do have a couple of things to say: Like so many other people, my thoughts are with the people of Boston today. I hope that no one else gets hurt. I hope that things come to a peaceful and just conclusion before too much time has passed.
I also have to say, selfishly, that I hope that at least one suspect is captured unharmed, or at least alive. Because the thing that continues to prey on my mind is the fact that we have no idea why so many people were hurt, why those people died. I want to know why those boys (and it feels odd saying it but it’s true, those boys are younger than I am) did what they did.
I’ve been told that the bombs that they placed were designed not to kill, but to maim legs. I don’t know if that’s true. But if it is – it’s sick, what that implies. To go after the legs of a bunch of people running a marathon – that’s almost worse than aiming to kill. I’m not sure if it is. Like chopping off a writer’s hands… I don’t want to think about it. And that’s not for sure anyway. Just speculation.
But I want to know why. I want there to be a reason, any reason. Not a good one, because there can’t be good reason, not for this, but a reason. Bad, stupid, fanatic, any reason. Because without a reason, my mind is going to assume that they enjoyed it, and that’s why they did it.
And a world where people kill for no reason at all is a very scary kind of world to be living in.