Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tip O'Day #300 - When Characters Go Crazy

Guest blogger Edward McKeown revisits The Land Where Characters Take Over Your Story. On February 21st, he had a guest post about a minor character who grew in importance until she starred in her own spin-off book.

This tendency expanded in my present series. Maauro is a 50,000-year-old android created for a genocidal war by a vanished species. She is found on an asteroid base by Wrik Trigardt, a disgraced military pilot. This was originally a gritty monster story without Maauro, featuring an Alien-style monster instead. My writing group hated that story. I dug into my fascination with anime and came up with a character of the deadly but oddly gentle, Maauro. Originally she had a corpse-like appearance then re-patterned herself to an anime appearance after capturing Wrik.

Maauro spoke to me in first person present tense, while Wrik spoke in first person past tense. I wondered why this was. Eventually l I realized that Maauro - who had perfect recall - did not look forward. Being essentially immune to time, she existed entirely in the now. Note however that I did not determine her voice. She did. I simply had faith there was a reason. I had no intention of doing a Pinocchio story wherein a robot character wants to become “real.” But Maauro had other ideas. She did not want to become a “real girl” but, as a machine made for a war that ended ages ago, she wanted to become more herself. Even her gender was an assumption and a choice. Maauro preferred the more complicated existence of a female consciousness. She decided that she wanted to explore emotionality and relationships; hers are cooler than ours as they are not rooted in sex and death.

So I ended up with a robot who acts more like a girl the longer she functions. Frankly the trip has been richer for my listening to her.

To learn more about Edward, check out his Amazon.com author page.


  1. Thanks I really enjoyed writing here and I hope some of you will come follow my blog too http://emckeown-edwriter.blogspot.com/

  2. Ooh! I like this. And it's always heartening to hear/read about other writers experiencing living characters who dictate their experience. Thank you for respecting her.