Bringing your characters to life
Creating characters for you story is a complicated and, thought provoking exercise at the best of times, but when your main protagonist is mechanical, breathing the breath of life into him or her, can be quite a challenge...
I'm currently working on series of short stories for young adults entitled "Puffing Hennery T". Set in the 1950's, Hennery T, as you may have guessed; is a steam locomotive, built in the pre British Rails era and, running as a main line train for them. It’s a time of upheaval for B.R due to the massive changeover of rolling stock from steam to diesel and, as Hennery T out dates many of his colleagues, he’s extremely worried as the words out that quite soon he’s due to be decommissioned, which is a polite way of saying; Hennery T’s heading for the scrap yard.
Trying to convey Hennery T’s anguish was difficult, but I finally came up with the idea of blending Hennery T’s thoughts with the rhythm of the wheels on the track as they clattered across each length of rail at speed and again later as he slows down; to ease across a complicated set of points, before entering the station, to convey to the reader just how worried he really was.
“Thundering through the tunnel at the Acrington flyover, his whistle blowing forlornly, Hennery T burst out into the bright autumn day, trailing smoke and steam behind him; his future a constant worry. ‘I’ve got to do something; I’ve got to do something, I’ve got to do something,’ the steel wheels squealed as Hennery T sped down the track towards Warrington Central, ‘but what shall I do… what to be done… what shall I do… what to be done,’ as they slowed before easing across the complicated system of points two hours later and finally entering the rather Grandiose Victorian Station of Warrington Central, Hennery T drew to a gradual and slightly shuddering halt; the passenger carriages clanking together metallically; as they do, only to be lost from view momentarily; amidst a final blast of steam from Hennery’s boiler. Pshhhhh…”
I would be very interested, as I’m sure others would, to learn how you go about, “Breathing the breath of life” into your characters.
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Last edited by Dr. Drib; 10-19-2012 at 02:43 PM.
Reason: Additional information