I saw Inkheart last week and it really got my pondering juices flowing. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s the latest in Brendan Fraser’s stream of young adult novel to movie adaptations. Not the best flick, but it had it’s moments. I loooved Paul Bettany as Dustfinger. As a movie, it falls short of really hitting the nail on the head for an adventure flick, but what I found the most intriguing about it was the concept of the “Silver Tongue”.
Silver Tongues are individuals who, by the act of reading aloud, can bring anything into existence. Now imagine that you are an author and you are suddenly confronted with your own characters, who are quite tormented and angry that you’ve put them in the situation that they are in (something which occurs in the movie).
What would your characters say to you if you met them face to face? What inspired you to make them the way they are? If your characters suddenly became real, how would they react to the ‘real’ world? It was interesting to see how villains in the Inkheart world adapted to use the technology of our world, which made their jobs of being thieves that much easier.
The whole concept got me to thinking about the relationship between an author and a character. Why do we make them? Why do we torture them?
Personally, I started creating characters as a young child in order to sleep at night. I always needed a good bedtime story to get to bed and I never grew out of that. If I’m not dreaming up a story before I’m sleeping, I can’t sleep at all. Every night, I imagine a scenario of some sort, my prince Ramah racing across a moonlit beach in his desert kingdom; Melakim hunting a dangerous adversary through a dark wood; Aurora diving off of a skyscraper in some elaborate aerial maneuver to penetrate a building’s security. There are all manner of stories and situations that end up fueling my art and writing at some point.
Where would the fun be if you didn’t put them in danger? Everyone needs a little tension, though I will admit being a bit of a sadist when it comes to torturing them. Aren’t we all?
Or maybe it’s just me…