The One Who Lived After Their World Died

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Yesterday, I let the oldest character in my head get out her frustration.  Adriana was created in 10th grade when I was putting the Immortal Wars series together.  I wrote the first two books and Vanity Pressed the first book.  She was certainly the most fun to write because she was a villain with a heart.  Hydrana of the heroes comes in a close second because I had plans for her to grow out of the spoiled brat stage.  One of the things I always regretted about scrapping Immortal Wars was that I had to say good-bye to Adriana.

Fast forward to college where I ran a Dungeons & Dragons game in the world of Windemere.  A hidden continent where my characters roamed.  Well, I needed a rival for Reese Kestrel and this character had to threaten her relationship.  In the middle of a game, Adriana was mentioned.  At the end of the semester, she made her appearance in the midst of a battle and caused such a ruckus that the entire plot changed.  She was in the stories to stay and I had to figure out how new origin.  I’m still not 100% certain where I’m going with her though.  This time she was an immortal who had been split in two instead of a single entity, but I’m leaning back toward single entity to get her into the Sin series.  It requires a lot of overlapping among characters that never meet and if I want to ever write the book on how the Great Cataclysm happened . . . Apparently, I just solved that problem as I wrote that sentence.  Sisters.  🙂

This makes me wonder about those original ideas that authors come up with.  I’m sure many authors come up with that first idea and run with it to publishing.  Others have that early idea that they cut their teeth on.  These first ones help an author develop a style and get a feel for the world they are wishing to enter.  When comfortable, they step into a bigger story that is more focused and flushed out.  So, what happens to all the ideas that came before that?  Do they vanish and die, never to be seen again?  Do they hide in the shadows and fester?

I know I’m talking as if these mental characters are real and sentient.  That’s because I think they are in a way.  Not independent of my own mind, but working off a part that I don’t always access.  They do things that I don’t plan or expect when I write, but they still work.  Every character is jacked into my subconscious imagination where they develop and have a clearer idea about what is going to happen than I do.  This is where Nyx’s ‘little brother’ nickname for Luke came from.  This is where the Luke/Kira relationship came from.  I guess I’m the type of author that feels there is some life in his characters and wonders what happens to the ones I don’t go through with.

Anybody out there have an old character that survived the tossing of their ideas?  Are you going to use that character or keep them around in the hopes of finding them a new home?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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12 Responses to The One Who Lived After Their World Died

  1. L. Marie says:

    Great post, Charles! I have two characters who survived from my now defunct novel. They are the stars of their own novels. Each was an extremely tertiary character. One character was only mentioned in a few paragraphs. Yet someone else saw potential in him and challenged me to write his story. The other character was born of the desperate need to produce a story for my critique group–mandatory in my grad program. I wrote a few chapters, trying to get to know this character. I soon had an idea for how a novel could be shaped around her.

    Having lived with both characters, I can see how they take on a life of their own; how they demand the right to “live.”

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    • Always fun when a really minor character explodes into his/her own idea. I have a plan for a minor character to get her own one-shot story after Legends of Windemere.

      I’ve looked over my old books and found a lot have been tossed aside as my ideas grow. I feel sorry for them.

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  2. Wordlander says:

    All the unused characters meet up at the pub to drown their sorrows. Hmm I think there’s a story in that somewhere…

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  3. twixie13 says:

    I have one character named Ivy that used to be involved in fanfiction. When I turned away from that realm, though, she came with me. I’ve been using this character for about 10 or so years. Like…8th grade, or so. There’s one character I had prior to her (6th grade) that I don’t remember the name of. And there was just so little to her personality that she’s never resurfaced. Another from around 8th grade also pops into my head on occasion, but I’ve never found a good place to utilize her. Maybe in some sort of VERY warped kids’ book…

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  4. 1WriteWay says:

    Yup, I have at least one that keeps popping up and I find lurking in the shadows. She showed up in a short story I wrote about 20 years ago, and then in another one, and then in a handwritten draft. I think she stays with me in part because she had had many of the same experiences that I have, been in similar situations, but her choices, her decisions are different. She’s the kind of character that holds a mirror up to your face when you’re least likely to want to take a look.

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