Tag Archives: character

Life is Saga

We live therefore we know saga. We all have a narrative. Our lives tell a story. If we really pay attention to our lives we find that they are populated with interesting and even great characters. Myself included. Yes, I consider dust bunnies characters. I write fiction. I could also be considered a great character in someone else’s narrative. I’m convinced i’ve been called a character many times when coworkers and friends talk about their day to their loved ones.

“You’ll never believe what this character said today…”

The word saga has gotten a bad rap. Somewhere along the line modern culture has linked saga with drama. The pop use of drama itself is abused.
“You don’t want to get involved with them. They bring to much drama.”
“OMG , they’re into daytime television?”

A perusal of some olde fashioned writing tools, dictionaries, will reveal that drama is not even in the lexicon of the definition. The following description appears number one among most definitions. “A long story of heroic achievement, especially a medieval prose narrative in Old Norse or Old Icelandic: a figure straight out of a Viking saga.”

I am not naive in the belief that figures straight out of Viking Sagas were not without some drama. On more than one occasion during the saga of Erik The Red, a character must had the following conversation.

“Where ever Erik goes there is always some kind of drama, what with the pillaging and the looting and all.”

“You know it. Where his he now?”

“The town had him exiled again and he didn’t know what to do with himself. I told him to find an island to explore. That should keep him busy for a while.”

In between the looting and pillaging, what we have come to spin as “conquering,” lands were discovered, legends were born and tales told.

Your life is a saga,hopefully devoid of pillaging and looting, but a saga none-the-less. You are the protagonist in your story. Make sure your character is a nice one.  A heroic protagonist would be epic, but a nice person in the least. The world is populated with enough antagonists. By all accounts Erik The Red was not a nice guy.

You don’t get exiled from two towns in Iceland by being a nice guy.

So go live your saga but don’t be like Erik The Red. He brought a lot of drama.

This post happened as a result of  the daily prompt meeting my mind. Fortunately there were survivors.

Image – Summer in the Greenland coast circa year 1000 Jens Erik Carl Rasmussen (1841–1893) (public domain).


Dawn of the Living Character Mash-up (Target Audience Characterpalooza)

I had just completed developing a new character for a series of books I was planning. I was quite proud of Zach and his bright shiny characteristics would appeal to a huge audience.

It was late and the braincells that had not been weeded out by reading, writing and drinking were telling me it was time to hit the sack. I knew enough not to argue, besides arguing with said brain cells would qualify me for a new room with really soft walls and some funky pajamas.

The following morning announced itself brightly and forced me to achieve consciousness. I have got to hang some blinds in that window, I thought. A hot shower and a cup of joe later I headed up to my writers nook anxious to let my character roam freely across the blank pages of my mind; no comment from the gallery please.

I took a seat in my writer’s chair*, powered up my laptop and opened up the notes file for Zach and stared at a blank ‘page’. I waited a few moments for the page to render itself but still nothing. No words, no stray commas, nothing. I double checked the laptop but it was fine. Unfortunately I had not bothered to back up my notes, Zach had disappeared.

It was as if the notes came together to create Zach and he walked off the page (or is it out of the file?). At that moment I heard screams off in the distance. Strange, I guess that’s what happened, I thought.

Well, he is relatively harmless. What could happen? The first rays of light that found him would kill him. That’s what happens to all vampires. Oops, not this one. He has an annoying habit of just sparkling in the sun. It was a surefire way to attract an audience of teenage girls. Vampires can be very romantic until the sun hits them. The whole ‘mass of putrid flesh’ thing is too grody for teenage girls to handle. Sparkling is much more fashionable.

That’s fine, I thought it’s not like he doesn’t have other limitations. As a vampire-zombie he will start decaying soon and no teenage girl will stick around long enough to be in danger. It’s a good thing I took that whole 50 shades of gray thing literally. He should be fairly easy to kill. An axe to the head and a stake to the heart should do the trick.

I gave the problem a bit more thought and found an additional flaw with that scenario. As a vampire-zombie-wizard he may be able to use magic to re-attach his head, as long he still has a wand and one of his hands. That can be overcome, I thought. He can still be killed, if in addition to removing the head and staking the heart his hands are also removed. That can’t be too difficult can it? No, definitely not a deal-breaker. The bigger problem is if he finds a broom and takes to the air. If that happens all bets are off.

This last thought put a damper on the whole ‘stop the character and save the local populace’ notion. I had run out of ideas and enthusiasm. It would be easier to
create a new character from scratch. This time I will have to rethink the whole vampire-zombie-wizard concept. Perhaps I went a little overboard trying to maximize the target audience. Now if I can just ignore the screams until Zach moves on to the next neighborhood. I hope he finds a broom.

*No , it’s nothing fancy, just a regular chair but since I would be writing it became my writers chair. It was parked in front of a desk. A writer’s desk. You can see where this is going.