Friday, August 28, 2009

The Immigration Of Characters

I write, as do many writers, because I enjoy writing. I take pleasure in telling stories and taking people on adventures via my stories. I have voices and ideas in my head. It gets crowded in there; I need these clamoring characters to immigrate. Onto my computer screen is the perfect new world for them. Rarely are they happy there, though. They want a larger world. They want to travel; they want to see and be seen. These characters are determined; they have visions of the wide world of places like Barnes and Noble in which to sow their wild oats. A few are truly ambitious and, having a high opinion of themselves, dream of traveling to New York and make the rounds socially—on the ‘A’ list, of course. One or two have even mentioned being on the ‘A’ list will help them realize another dream, living on the silver screen. Once they’ve done that, then they want to settle down on a nice little cozy bookshelf somewhere.

So what’s a beleaguered writer to do? Help them immigrate, of course.

As a writer, I’ve in effect given birth to them and I’m emotionally attached to them. I’ve raised them to be tough and strong, to set goals and dream. I applaud their ambition. I love my characters, so I start the paper trail to help them realize their dreams and ambitions. However, immigration laws for characters have become tough in the past ten years. There’s so much red tape involved. Character immigration is a tough business all around. Getting through to the Character Immigration Officers is daunting.

I get frustrated because some of these CIO’s reject my characters without even giving them a chance. I polish them, provide my characters with a new wardrobe, take care with accessories—because appearances are everything in this world—and try again. I provide them with the right background and setting and still they get rejected. Some of these CIO’s want clear-cut categories to pigeonhole them. A certain background. Some of my characters don’t fit into a particular category—they are people after all—much less a set background. Some of my characters do, but still aren’t accepted. My characters are upset and I’m frustrated. Because I’m attached to them, it bothers me when they’re rejected. Meanwhile, I have a small town of characters living on my computer, and more in my head. Will I stop creating? No. Will I stop trying to help my characters to immigrate? No, again.

I have invested in some tough Rhino skin for my characters and myself. It’s survival. I have no intention in giving up on finding homes for my characters. But rejections hurt you as an author. They can’t help but hurt us because we have created these characters and invested time and emotion in them. Rejections are a normal process of the querying your novels and stories. Some published authors say they’ve received enough rejection letters they could’ve papered their bathroom walls. That’s a lot of rejections.

Some of these published authors made it through the red tape of Agents and Editors and gotten their stories published with traditional publishing houses, others investigated smaller publishers and went that route, and still others have settled in nicely with POD publishers. They did this because they believed in their abilities to tell an entertaining story and a desire to take readers on an adventure. They enjoy writing.

The point is, these are published authors and they didn’t give up. They obviously invested in some tough Rhino skin as well so as not to be discouraged to the point of not writing or querying their stories. Persistence has its rewards. They’ve networked and marketed aggressively. Even after getting a contract, they continue working on building and keeping a strong reader base by perfecting their skills as a storyteller.

For these published authors, their characters have emigrated from the world in their heads and their computers to New York and hit the ‘A’ list—the Best Sellers list. Some of the authors have had their books optioned and have seen their characters make it to the movies. Some of their characters have starred in TV movies or series. Their characters have happily found homes in Borders and Barnes and Noble. Others are happily ensconced on a nice cozy bookshelf in someone’s home.

There are many success stories out there. The question is, will you stay the course and help your characters immigrate? Where will your characters end up? Will they immigrate or end up spending their life with you?

As for me, I’m determined to help my characters immigrate.


Sia Mckye lives in Missouri on a ranch out beyond the back forty. She raises kids, Great Danes, horses, and has been known to raise a bit of hell now and then.

Sia has been involved with marketing and promotion for most of her working life. She's published various articles and conducted seminars on marketing/promotion.

She has written several romance novels and Para romance. Sia is in the process of helping her characters immigrate to Barnes & Noble.


Sisters-in-Sync said...

Good morning, Sia.

I'll have a very large mug of steaming vanilla latte, please and thank you.

Your post was amazing. It really put a lot into perspective for me. As you know, I'm just starting out but have already had a couple of situations arise where I could have used that Rhino skin. I'm going out and buying me a thick hide today.

I have high, high hopes for my characters and will stay with them on their journey. Pushing them off that computer screen and supporting them in their journey into the large, unknown world. They are my babies after all.

Elle J Rossi

Judi Fennell said...

One sure way to ensure they never get a new home is to give up, so Perservere! As Churchill said, "Never, never, never give up!"

~Sia McKye~ said...

Elle, did you want cinnamon sprinkles with that latte? I'm having a white mocha, double shot of espresso. Yah, one of those days, lol!

Yah gotta have rhino skin. You need it for contructive crits as well as dealing with rejections.

I figure it this way. I want the contracts. I'll work as hard as I need to get them. If I give up, guaranteed it's a no. If I keep knocking it might be a yes.

If that's your ambition then gird your loins and go get it. You have a good support system in place and that helps.

*raising my cup Here's to you and your career as a novelist. :-)

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Sia,

This is a fabulous post!! Love the graphics as well. I was just blogging about this, this week. As a writer, do you keep your characters under your bed until you hit the A list, or do you put down your ego and let them go play on other people's bookshelves-however they can get there? I choose to let them free in the world. You never know where they might go on their own!

Thanks for this great post!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That is a wonderful analogy!

And I never thought about the small town now growing in my computer...

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Sheila Deeth said...

I think I need a good strong coffee to go with all that inspiration. Yes, I will try to be more determined to help my characters immigrate. It actually sounds much more attractive than just wanting to help myself achieve a dream.

Anonymous said...

C.I.O.? rofl, love it Sia.

Someone said to me, "I don't think I could write an entire book."
I replied, "When you've got a set of characters screaming in your head to be listened to, you'll write."

I got the step slowly away from the crazy lady look and laughed. Quitting isn't an option.

VA said...

Well everyone else here is so with it. Presently my characters are interned at Ellis Island with no hope of being released soon. They're starting to grump and I worry about a couple of them as tempers flare. They don't all play nice. Maybe I should disarm them.

There is no CIO, COO, or CEO available -- they're all on a six week European vacation. Ciao!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Wait a minute. They're on vacation but you're not, Viv? Boy, Some people's characters. :-)

Ps Think they'll take me next time?

~Sia McKye~ said...

Nope, Sherilyn, quitting isn't an option if you want to succeed. I'd rather coax them to the computer as the first step to going out in the big wide world and Barnes &!

VA said...

Sia probably, but would you really want to go with them?

Tonya Kappes said...

Sia- yes I am going to stay around to help my characters immigrate. I must admit-I used to have very soft, beautiful skin. Since writing, my rhino skin is pretty dry and hard.
Great post!

Helen Ginger said...

I think there are several small towns on my computer. So far, the townsfolk have not crossed from one town to another, but the towns are each vying for attention.

Straight From Hel

Sisters-in-Sync said...

"Persistence has its rewards."

Yes, indeed, Sia. Hang in there. You're doing everything right. Your characters are lucky to have you in their corner!

~Beth Ciotta

Houston A.W. Knight said...


Yes, I am one who will see my H&H to print...I will hang in there to my last breath if I have to.

Loved the post today...and it came just at the right time. xoxo thank you. I'll send a private e and tell you all about it! ;-)

BTW, I've got an award for you on my blog...come by and get it hon!


~Sia McKye~ said...

I glady accept all hugs, kisses, and awards. lol! I'm glad the article was a help.

~Sia McKye~ said...


Thank you for the encouragement. You're a sweetheart. :-)

I watch authors like you. I see the work you put into telling a good story and the time you spend in promotion. You certainoy don't sit back on your laurels, lol!

Thanks for stopping by.

Houston A.W. Knight said...


Can you believe I just got your comment on one of my July articles "damaged souls"

Hon, I hope you know I wasn't over looking you...I just never saw it until today when it came in on my e's...nice provider I've got! }:-(


~Sia McKye~ said...

Nothing to forgive, Hawk.

There's an old sayin', "Don't sweat the small stuff."

The way I see it? We all live busy lives. Sometimes we can be there for every blog article of our friends and sometimes we can't. I don't take it personally at all. K?

Magdalena Scott said...


Maybe a small press for some of your more adventurous characters? They could test the waters and report back to home base.