Friday, May 15, 2015

Character Challenges

Good morning all and Happy Friday!

Sorry it's been a while since my last post, but I've been hard at work on the latest manuscript and am happy to share that I'm over half-way through the first draft!  13 Chapters have been completed and there's at least 7-10 more to go.  The Galactic Dynasty series is getting more and more interesting as events continue to unfold and I'm loving where this latest book is taking the characters!

Speaking of characters... as you all know, I'm a huge character-driven reader.  If I can't connect with the characters, the story tends to lose my interest quickly.  Same goes for writing.  I've got to be totally into my characters or I rapidly lose my connection with them and therefore am unable to write their stories.  So, as a whole, I find it very easy to slip into the various mindsets of my different characters and love spending time in each of their individual heads.

With that said, I have encountered probably the most difficult character for me to write to date.  This character is in the Galactic Dynasty series and plays pivotal yet vague roles in the development of the story as well as being the supporting character to my main characters.  His name is Daemos and he is actually an it... he's Artificial Intelligence at its most refined and he's extremely complex.  This translates to him being very difficult to grasp in my mind in order for me to write him into various scenes.

On the one hand, he's a computer program.  He's logic and databanks and 1's and 0's.  On the other hand, he's an evolving program and he's beginning to simulate near flawlessly the various human interactions that he has observed and analyzed from the human characters he's encountered.  But he's still just a computer program at the core of it all and he does not actually feel the emotions he tries to simulate.

Anyway, he has been the most challenging character to write because I'm trying to get inside the mindset of a computer that is attempting to evolve to a more human-like state.  And sometimes I get ahead of myself and give him characteristics or actions that make him more human-like.  That's when my co-author has to step in and tone things down to where Daemos actually is in his development or evolution.  You should hear the heated discussions that take place when we're dealing with Daemos in particular and amazingly enough, Daemos is the only character that we tend to have heated discussions about.  And I'm sure it's because Daemos is the most difficult character for me to figure out and portray.

I love the challenge that Daemos continuously presents to me, though.  I feel that because of this challenge, I am able to develop more as an author.  It forces me to step outside my comfort zone and explore unique solutions in order to make Daemos as realistic an AI as possible without losing the fact that he is just a computer when you strip everything else away.  I think that he's actually preparing me for when I begin exploring the other alien species that my human characters have yet to meet in this series and hopefully when I reach that point, I'll be able to come up with some intriguing species that my readers have yet to encounter in other sci-fi/adventure novels.

So, as much as I sometimes want to bang my head against a wall where Daemos is concerned, he is rapidly becoming my favorite character out of all the ones taking up space in my head.  He's unique and fascinating and a complete enigma, even to his creator, and I really look forward to seeing just how far he'll go in his evolution.

For the writers out there, who has been your most challenging character to date?  And what made them so challenging for you?  I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below and happy writing!

For the readers out there, who has been your favorite fictional character to date?  And what makes them your favorite?  I'd love to hear from you as well, so please leave a comment below and happy reading!

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