Is there a leading character in your life? (Other than yourself, naturally.)
In life we tend to know where our lead characters came from. But, did you ever wonder where the lead character of a novel comes from? I still wonder and it may be that there is no one answer or it may also be that the author often doesn’t know.
Avery Moved In
The lead character in the first book of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy is a woman by the name of Avery. I have a strong attachment to her but do not know anyone exactly like her. On the other hand, I don’t know anyone who is from a mermaid family and has extraordinary intimate contact with a world in crisis. Now, granted, we have multiple levels of attachment to people but, as to Avery, I have to guess. There has been no revelation from on high.
As it turns out, Avery is not on a gentle life cruise. She thought she had her life’s direction, but had no idea that someone else (a goddess) had plans for her. Question one. Do I believe that people have ordained or fully formed life plans? Only “kind of”—“sometimes” is my answer.
In my youth the climate at the time suggested that we each would have a life plan. A guy would get that really nice job with a stable company and might well retire from its graces with a decent pension. Along the way he would find this lovely woman, they would have delightful children and live happily ever after. Of course, life is not like that.
Certain Characteristics Were Essential
So how did Avery develop? I knew enough of the story at the beginning to know that she had to be a dedicated person. So, I arranged a job doing good works. And, of course, she had to meet Mr. Right. That’s not complicated. Often, in a novel, finding the love of the character’s life has to happen after a long struggle. In this case he arrives early and is a partner with her for the adventure. I thought that was a nice variation since I’m a strong believer in partnership.
The core of the story built because my brain had something in mind. I happen to love mythology and was a dedicated follower of Carl Jung. So in came a mythological construct. The first part of my choice seems to have been logical, but when it comes to mythology, it is emotion that often takes over after a time. Additionally, of course, there is my fascination with the ongoing movement to empower women. I was fascinated by the myth of mermaids and wedded that to empowered women.
Guidance From a Personality Type
At one point I had to ask myself why Avery was the way she was and I discovered that she had a well defined personality described by Jung’s personality typology. She is an extraverted intuitive feeling type. I’ll tell you what that means.
In this case an extravert being out in the world could display her conflicts and joys better than someone who was centered deep inside – an introvert. And, she couldn’t be clueless in this strange environment. She had to be able to look inside what was happening and see meaning which means an intuitive type. As it happens Tethyans, as a people, are also highly intuitive. It helps if you are trying to communicate under water. And then what filled her out was she had to be a person with strong feelings and that she would serve our purposes better if she wanted harmony which means her auxiliary personality type is feeling. Those elements constitute the framework of this personality type. I didn’t construct her logically, I constructed her intuitively. So, she came together without a preexisting plan.
And Then There is the Reader
Of course one of the interesting things about fiction is that one form of fiction does not fit all people. And often I suspect that is a matter of the degree to which the personality and characteristics of the characters fits with the personalities and dreams of the readers. Of course, there are many other issues, but the fit seems important which is why different characters appeal to different people.
I could probably go on at considerable length on the issues involved. But, I’ll leave it there.
What gets you involved with fictional characters?
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