Thursday 14 July 2011

Xan Marcelles on being a character

On Tuesday, I reviewed a rather nifty short story, Just My Blood Type, by Nerine Dorman and Carrie Clevenger. Yesterday I let the ladies take over the Blunt Pencil to take us behind the scenes of their collaboration. Today, I let one of the story's stars, Xan Marcelles, do the talking. Xan, my sweet, over to you...

There’s a ton of blog posts talking about how to connect with your character these days. But there aren’t very many on what it’s like to be us. Characters. You know, the individuals you have fall in love, torment, even kill. Some of us last for years and pop up in book after book, others of us just kind of walk across the stage straight into a manhole.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Xan Marcelles and I am a character. Not really unusual is it? To have one of us talk back? Because we do all the time. You can’t deny that you’ve heard us laugh, cry, or felt that poke when we’ve got something good to tell you. And sometimes we play with you. You, the writer. The author. Whatever you want to call yourselves. Puppet masters. Slave drivers. Yeah, I’m talking to you.

So how is it I came about? I guess I came along when my writer needed me most. A tragedy forced her to withdraw from the real world and, besides that, she wasn’t in a good place anyway. She doesn’t like to talk about it much, so I’ll give that respect and say I was there when she needed to escape. Did I pop out of thin air fully formed? Nah. I wasn’t sure who I was at first. You try being dropped off on another planet to survive. You first have to figure everything out. Remember who you are. So I did. Slowly.

I was a quiet sort of guy at first, thrown in a tiny beginner’s novel and given a sketch of a past, a sliver of a future and I even died at first. Yeah, she killed me. But I came back. Because the good die young but the best come back, isn’t that how it goes? No? Oh well.

So, who is this mouthy bastard who decided to come forth and start pointing fingers, you might ask. Or not. I’m going to tell you anyway. I’m a bassist in a band I named Crooked Fang. I live in a tavern that used to be a lodge. Oh, and there’s one more thing: I’m a vampire. Yeah. Stop rolling your eyes at me. I’m not exactly a fuzzy-sparkly-lovey-dovey thing. For one thing, I’m not a little guy. I’m six-five and weigh around two-twenty. My mom was a Navajo and a small quiet woman. My dad was a big happy, outgoing type. Italian. Ladies’ man. Ran a restaurant. This was before I was a vampire, mind you. Pay attention. I was born in 1958, dropped in 1985, and life has never been the same. You ever wake up dead? Yeah. It sucks.

So let’s go back to your world. The real world. How do I fit in there? Can’t say I do really, but that’s the point. We characters are like actors on the stage of your ever-reading brains. We say things that are scripted and perform actions that move a plot. Ever talked to one of your characters? Sure you have, haven’t you? Really? Let me tell you a little secret: we’re picky. That’s right. In fact, we’re so picky, out of all the people in the world, we choose one special writer to tell our story. You.

Yes, you. You who only think you can shut us up. Because we won’t be silenced. We’ll nag you at every godforsaken hour until you get your ass up and go to your computer, your notepad, or even your dinner napkin and start scribbling down points like you’re crazy. Because we rely on you to live. To survive. To love. To lose. And we understand when you choose for us to die.

Don’t feel bad. We’re here to use as you want, provided you work with us, and not against us. Let us be who we’re gonna be and just tell the damn story. Because the truth is, without you…we’re nothing.



You can find out more about Xan over at Crooked Fang - you can even 'like' him on Facebook, and I highly recommend following him on Twitter. His handler, Carrie Clevenger, hangs out here. You can also download Just My Blood Type FOR FREE from Smashwords, and go check out the reviews on Goodreads. Be sure to post one if you read it yourself.

Be sure to give Xan a lot of love, and tell him Icy sent you...


Dorothy F. Shaw said...

Oh sweetie.. *beams* So proud of you.
Love you baby!

Thanks, Icy for letting him post for you.

Carrie Clevenger said...

Thanks for the hosting Icy.

Doof said...

Xan, your handler is a hard-ass and I really feel for you. You're a sweetheart. I didn't realize you were born in the late 50s. Great time for wonder you're so hip. Er...hep. Right. You rule. :)

Xan Marcelles said...

WTF is a Doof? LOL. Yeah, but Danzig is still older than me. Ha!

Xan Marcelles said...

Wookiesgirl is proud of me. I feel like I made straight A's. Oh and thanks for the space, Ice.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Xan, you're more than welcome. Anything to help!

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

I958? I was born in 1960... finally, someone older than me... thought, man, you're some middle-aged rock star vampire but then realized you died in 1985, at your peak, destined to be forever young. *jealous*
Just curious, did disco have any impact on you, at all, seeing as how it was barely escapable at the time (no wonder you croaked.. it was almost enough to down anyone)
Disco aside, your words are inspiring - it was like my main character was talking to me and I paid attention.
Thanks for your candour.

Sam said...

Xan, my old mate! Great to hear your take on the writer-character relationship, there's too many of them written from the other perspective, so it makes a refreshing change to hear things from your point of view.

Keep on truckin', I'll be picking up Just My Blood Type shortly.

Icy, thanks for lending Xan your pencil, I really enjoyed this post.

Larry Kollar said...

Xan, you'd be my age if you were alive. If cards were years, we'd be playing with a full deck!

Enjoyed the insights. With one quibble. Um… "choose for us to die?" Sometimes you guys tell *us* when you have to die (and stay dead, except as a voice in someone's head, no "back from the grave" copout). That really sucks, especially when you're our favorite.

Xan Marcelles said...

• Cathy - Disco? What disco? [laughs] Naw seriously, loved Donna Summer. BeeGees taught me how to Stay Alive, or maybe they didn't...Rick James, Blondie...what you didn't like disco? Heh.

Sam - Dude, nice to see you've dropped by too. Hope you enjoy that little book-thingie.

FARfetched - With a screen name like that, you're calling me unrealistic? LOL. So, yeah me? Did the whole dying thing, let's see...[counts] um, let's just say enough times. She *really* was trying to get rid of me I swear. That's where this whole contract of me sticking around came in. She keeps me, I keep me...well sortkindabutnotreally "alive." Yeah?


nerinedorman said...

Xan, you're such a honey, babe. Glad you're getting a bit of airtime and it's not just the woman who occasionally lets you out to play. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Great post. I have been chosen by a special boy, been with me for 3 years now, and I am writing a short story about how he came to me, because I thought it would be a good take on things...

Slave Driver? Not me...but he is, he made me quit my job a year ago, to write his story, I'm still writing, for he loves attention ;-)


Icy Sedgwick said...

I love Xan anyway, so it's lovely to hear from him, and I'm really happy to have let him run amok on the Blunt Pencil.

Xan Marcelles said...

Nerine - ...what? And you're not so bad yourself.

Alannah - Glad to hear you aren't giving up. Tell J hi for me.

Icy - Was a good time, thanks sweetheart.

Anonymous said...

Good to hear from you Xan. Interesting to hear the perspective from a character and how they feel about the whole shenanigans.
Rock on.
Adam B @revhappiness

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