Friday, 25 April 2014

Letters to Me: February Writing Task by Kali Ravel

Warning: Some strong language in this one!

Following the sessions we did on writing for children and writing exercises, I've been using the techniques we discussed to develop two of my characters. To this end, I found an exercise which consisted of a list of questions to answer, and began working through them for both characters. The final question, which I include below, was to write a letter to myself from the point of view of those characters.

My first character, Eloise Richards, is fifteen-years-old and lives with her Aunt Portia. Her life is reasonably idyllic, apart from a few things. She is home-schooled due to her issues with ADD and recurring nightmares, which prevent her from sleeping. She is also saddened by being separated from her parents; she was born as the result of an affair, and each of her parents has another, legitimate, daughter. Eloise was sent away in order to uncomplicate the situation.

Eloise lives in a universe very like ours, apart from the fact that certain people have special powers, including Eloise herself. If it sounds like X-Men, that's because I loved them when I was thirteen and first invented the character!

Mina Stafford, my second character, is markedly different to Eloise, and it was very interesting trying to write them both at the same time. Mina is in her mid-twenties. She was abused by her parents – sexually by her stepfather and emotionally by her mother. As an adult, she finally began to build a semi-healthy relationship with Leo, a Canadian con artist. When he died, she was unable to cope and slaughtered those who she felt were responsible before turning the gun on herself. Her letter to me is rather different from Eloise's.

A Letter from Eloise

Dear Ms Ravel,
Oh my god! Well, like, literally right?! You made me! You made my whole universe! Oh my god, this is such a big deal! Do you have magic powers? Can you make me fly?! Can you fly? I would fly, if I made the universe. Why didn't you just make everyone fly?

I really don't know what to say. I feel like I should ask you for something. Like, can you make the whole world peaceful, and make everyone immortal? I don't know how that would really work from like a space and resources point of view...can't you just like magically move people to other planets? Like with magic doors? And just make crops appear where they're supposed to so everyone can eat?

Can you make everyone not be ill any more? Can you make everyone happy? Can you make my parents be in love and make my sisters...well, maybe not never exist, because that's mean and I'm sure they like being alive, but, make them, like someone else's kids and someone else's sisters?

Can you take my nightmares away, and let me get some sleep? Can you make it so it's always a really nice spring day, with sunshine and light breezes, but not too shiny and not too breezy, and maybe a thunderstorm every so often to spark it up a bit? And, like, cure cancer? Will you cure cancer? And all those other horrible illnesses? Please?

Also, that flying thing. That would be awesome. But not wings, we'd all have to change our clothes so the wings would fit and it would just be so awkward.


Eloise Richards

A Letter from Mina Stafford

Dear Ms Ravel,
Oh, I'm coming for you bitch. What kind of sick psycho are you, to do this to me?! You gave me parents who never loved me, a mother who didn't give a fuck what happened to me, and a stepfather who got his kicks from raping me! You gave me my Catholic beliefs, and now you're trying to take them away?! Is there even a God?! You're my goddamn creator, and you did this to me! You bitch! You took Leo! You gave me all that shit, then you gave me one person, just one person in the world who didn't ignore me or hurt me, and then you took him away! You took him away! He was good! He was a good man and he was mine and you took him AWAY!

Bring him back. You can do that. You made this world. Bring him back!

...I don't give a shit about “plausible narrative”. Those words are in my head because of you, aren't they?! I don't give a fuck how you do it, just bring him back!

You made me, and you made me a killer. I'm coming for you.

Mina Stafford

You can follow these links to read the character profiles for these two lovely ladies.

Read more of Kali’s work at her blog 'This is how it begins'.

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