Dicken's Character

It’s a Vampire! Draculiza is born.

“What’s that BIG WHITE SPACE on my website?” I asked my kind web developer, Jeff.

“Oh, that’s where your blog goes,” he replied.

And I freaked. A blog! Did I say I wanted a blot, I mean, a blog! I never had a blog before! Do I want a blog? Thought of one before. Then thought against it. Then forgot about it. And now I’ve got to write. OK. Now I get to say what’s rattling around in my head out loud and hope someone hears it. Or not.

So let’s start with vampires. And giving birth, which I hear is not easy at the best of times, but try birthing a vampire! I am absolutely exhausted…and I think my publisher is too. It took such a HUGE push to get Draculiza here in time for Halloween. I thank my extremely lovely publisher for all her work and for believing that vampires are cool! And I thank my illustrator for bringing Draculiza and Spike to life.

I’ve never been fortunate enough to have children but Draculiza is like my child. They say as writers, our books, (or plays in my case as playwriting is my imagined day job) become our children. But I don’t think it’s the books or stories – I think it’s the characters themselves that linger in our psyche (sp.!) and bond with an author forever. They can’t help but be a part of us. They are a part of us! Draculiza is a part of who I was growing up. Not that I bit anyone, I don’t think, but the story of how I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin was definitely a part of my childhood as I think it’s a part of a lot of people’s childhoods. And what’s weird is that this wasn’t something I set out to write about, just, now that the mad rush is over, and I sit back and look at the story, I am flabbergasted at how so much of it harks back to my growing up. There’s my mom, reading me stories on page 2. There’s me wondering why I don’t have blonde hair. And there I am, running off on adventures without much thought. Uncanny. And only now do I see it.

Characters are the most important part of a story to me. They add richness and texture to what can otherwise be a dull tale as they slowly creep up on you. They are who we empathize with and who we become. The best books have the most memorable characters. I am constantly blown away by the sheer variety and intensity of the distinguished characters in a Balzac novel or ANY Dickens novel whose more minor characters have just as much clout as the major ones. Who can forget Uriah Heep, or Quilp, or Miss Flite? And the names! “Poll Sweedlepipe,” “Mrs. Gamp,” “The Veneerings” or “Mrs. Henry George Alfred Swoshle, a member of fashionable society!” Though Dickens wove a magnificent magic carpet with his plots which I always imagined in the shape of a pyramid – multiple threads of a story starting at the bottom and all intertwining to reach one climactic point perfectly at the top – I think his greatest achievements of all time were his splendid characters.

Yes, I am a huge Dickens fan.

And I hope that DRACULIZA can live up to her illustrious name and bring forth loads of mischief and madness into this world. And fly forever – like Miss Flite.

 

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