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  • Dale Thele

You Know You're an Author: When You FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR CHARACTERS



Why do writers fall in love (or become infatuated) with one or more of his/her fictional characters? It’s an easy trap for a writer to fall into since the writer must fully understand his/her characters to write a story of substance. A writer literally goes inside the head of his/her characters to explore what makes them tick, what they feel, think, and so on and so forth. In my situation, one of my characters has taken on a near “human” form. Case in point:


Shane Davison is not only the lead character, but he’s also the narrator and voice of CLIPPED WINGS. He can be a real twat, but I’ve got a deep inner connection with him. He’s part me, and part Holden Caulfield, part Scout Finch, and many other teenage characters from well read and loved coming-of-age novels.


Shane is a cocky (oops, I can’t use that word, it’s copyrighted — that’s another story altogether: see here) teenager who lounges on my sofa as I write. He knows he’s the central figure of the fictional novel I’m writing, so he has no fear of NOT being featured in any (all) scene(s). But, he gets testy when I cut scenes or chapters in the editing process. He doesn’t throw a hissy fit or anything along those lines, instead, he pouts and won’t speak to me.


Okay, I admit; I enjoy the silence when he’s pissed-off, it beats those endless wild tangents he so enjoys to torture me. When I ask him to be quiet, his feathers get ruffled and he won’t talk even when I need his input or opinion. I hate when he goes into one of his teenage mood swings. Whatever possessed me write a coming-of-age novel of a spoiled, self-centered, egotistical teenage boy? Why couldn’t I’ve drafted a charming little story filled with lollipops, unicorns, and rainbows? I hate to say it, but I wrote about a subject I knew.


CLIPPED WINGS is a personal story, one that has been with me for nearly five decades. A story I knew needed to be told, but I didn’t have the guts to pursue. I suppose I wasn’t willing to put my feelings, my fears, and most of all, I didn’t want to expose myself in such a public manner. I suppose a vulnerability can empower or destruct, depending on how one approaches a situation.


Through Shane’s character, I found a voice to tell my story, an autobiographical/memoir sprinkled generously with huge chunks of fiction. By creating Shane, I distanced myself from a past which had haunted me for a long time. In the narrative, Shane becomes the vulnerable one, not me. He takes the heat, not me. He takes the fall, not me. Okay, possibly I’m hiding behind Shane, but I’m finally exposing an injustice which should never have happened, but it did.


I can’t, with a clear conscience say I’m in love with the character of Shane but I do admire the way he tells his (our) story. We share an unspoken bond with a tale inspired by actual events. Maybe Shane didn’t exist in the actual series of events which unfold in the novel, but as a team, he and I tell one hell of a story.


Currently CLIPPED WINGS the novel is being edited and is scheduled for release in spring 2021.



Dale Thele

fiction with an lgbt twist

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