In Which I Compare Characters to Screaming Children

2:12 PM Gemma Fitz 10 Comments

Sorry for the late post, but my internet has been sketchy for the last three days. It was sketchy today too. I really hate our internet.

(There is no graphic for this post because reasons, mainly involving the fact that screaming kids are very unattractive to look at.)

So recently I went on vacation. It was a family vacation, and I have an enormous family which includes four nephews and a niece all under the age of seven. I love my nephews, but, boy, can they be crazy (and loud) sometimes.

That Wednesday, the entire family assorted itself out among four different vehicles and headed down to a small island near where we're staying, where we like to bike around and eat ice cream and buy candy (and other stuff, but those are the important things), and, by some unfortunate chance, I found myself riding with my brother, his wife, their two sons (aged 2.5 and 1), and my other nephew (aged 6), who for one reason or another wasn't riding with his parents.
I like to think this will be me and my nephews in ten years.
Now, when we usually take a trip to this island, it's about a half hour ferry ride, and ferries run every half hour. But somewhere in the mechanical circuit of things something must have gone awry, because we spent an hour sitting in line for the ferry, and when at last we were boarded, it took another hour to reach the destination.

In all, I was in the car with three bored boys for 6 hours, round trip. And they screamed.

So, now you know the inspiration for this post, let's get down to business. Why characters are basically screaming children.

They will do anything for your attention.

My youngest nephew, Nicholas, has a bad habit of screaming whenever nobody is looking at him. I was in the seat directly behind him, and the moment I sat up and looked over the back of the seat at him, he would stop and starting grinning angelically, but if I were to relax and disappear from view (or even turn my head)-- more screaming.

Characters are similar. They're constantly there in my head, nagging me to look at them, and if I don't, they make sure I feel guilty for my cruelty-- or for my "bad writing routine". But once they catch my attention and I start playing with them, they suddenly start acting like angels and I wonder how I could ever have been annoyed at them.

They won't do what you tell them to.

"Nicholas, don't play with that." "Shane, stop screaming." "Liam, buckle up right now." Haha, good luck. Even when I was able to wrest away dangerous toys, placate angry sobs, and shove rambunctious boys into their car seats, it was never long before the chaos broke out afresh in some new direction. Little boys do not listen.

And neither do characters. "Do this." "Go there." "Say that clever thing." It all falls on heedless ears. They have their own opinion of what the story should be like, and even if I do force them into doing and saying the things I want them to do and say, it only makes other problems sprout up. 

They leave you exhausted...

You wouldn't believe the emotional and mental strain that results from being trapped in a car with a ton of kids unless you've been there. There's the noise for one thing, and the constant requests. "Auntie, read this book to me." "I want my bear!" "AAAAAHHHH!!!" Then there's the fact that you have to keep a constant eye on them, to make sure they don't drink hand sanitizer or unbuckle and climb into the trunk. Before long, I just wanted to collapse in a heap and die.
Characters like to crawl into my head, scream at me, and drive me insane with their problems. The mental effort of coming up with the all the different character arcs and growth leaves me so tired, and all that time spent crying in the shower over the upcoming (or recently fulfilled) deaths doesn't exactly help.

...But they won't let you sleep.

By the returning ferry ride, I was done. Completely done. I lay down in the back seat of the van and tried my very best to take a nap. But by that time, the boys were all full of sugar and tired in the not-good way. They were making noise, climbing all over me into the trunk, throwing foam stars at me (don't ask me where those came from), and trying to talk to me every couple seconds. Sleep was not an option.

All my characters are night owls. The moment I lie down and try to go to bed, they all attack me with renewed vigour, begging me to write their stories. And then my Mom asks me why I can't sleep at night.

But, in spite of it all, you can't help but love them.

My nephews can be exhausting and crazy, but I still adore them, no matter how naughty or annoying they may be. I mean, they're my nephews! And they really are the cutest little kids.

No matter how much I hate your novel or writing in general, the one thing I can never bring myself to hate are my lovely characters. They drive me insane, but how can I not forgive them, when they're so adorable?

What would you compare characters to? Do you have experience with children? What's the most annoying thing about your characters?

10 comments:

  1. OH MY GOODNESS I sooo relate with this!!! I have 9 nieces and nephews and sheesh they are SO much like characters!!!! Great comparison!!
    -JH

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    1. Wow. Just-- wow. That is a LOT of nieces and nephews. It sounds fun and-- intimidating. xD Glad you could relate, anyway!

      Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  2. I have many young siblings and I can confirm that this is very, very accurate. xD Especially the fact that they're loud and cause trouble and I enjoy being around them until I have to babysit them. :P

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    1. Ah yes-- kids are awesome until you're stuck trying to keep them happy (and alive). -_-
      Likewise, characters are awesome until you actually try to /write/ them.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  3. This is very true. I've never thought of it this way.

    I have a lot of younger siblings, but I don't think any of them were quite like that. Although, we used to babysit a lot of kids, and they were insane. I'm pretty sure it was their pleasure to spread misery to the world. . . I love kids. They can be a lot of fun and it's interesting what you can learn from them. But those kids were out of control!

    Characters are a lot like that. When you let them loose they tend to. . . plot more books without your consent. They are always moving things around and changing the events or timeline.

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    1. I'm actually terrified of kids, unless they're related to me. So I love my nephews and niece, and back when my little sisters were younger I loved them, but most kids I do my very best to avoid and drive me crazy within the first ten seconds of being with them. They're cute and all-- but /scary/.

      Oh, my characters are always plotting books without my consent, and it drives me INSANE. Ugh. Characters can certainly mess up all your plans.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  4. The accuracy is frightening... THEY DON'T SHUT UUUUUP *sob*

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    1. ROUSY!!!
      No, they don't. *faints*
      Thanks for commenting!

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  5. Good lord, this is why I hate being around with kids, I don't have the patience, lol. But I sure do love them. It's like I wanna be ready with a tranquilizer gun or something just so they'd stop screaming and running around. Gahhh!

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads

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    1. Lol, I'm not a big fan of kids either, though I put up with the ones in question because, well-- their my nephews. xD TRANQUILLIZER GUNS!!! Why didn't I think of that??? I'm going to have to try that now!!! :P

      Thanks for commenting!

      Delete

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