Tuesday, November 27, 2012

HERO: My Wordfreak.

How Aryan Rajaram Chawla came into existence:

Smoosh and blend this fellow...

With this one... 

And this one...

...and you will kind of, maybe, sorta get the yummy silhoutte of My Wordfreak. Strictly speaking, I have no clear image of him inside my head, even now. He changed and morphed physically with every scene of the novel till the very awesome end. What remained constant throughout that process was my fascination with character building. 
Who is he? What does he stand for? What makes him tick? Who will he be attracted to? Why would he run from love? The questions drove me on and I had to find their answers.
What he looked like on the outside was immaterial at that point and to the development of my story. That's not saying that I would ever imagine a physically non-appealing (appealing to me, only to me) hero or heroine. I chose to write a more or less good-looking book with a cast that was more or less good-looking with a more or less good-looking ending. Why? Because I chose to write a romance novel and romance is a thing of beauty (to me.) Read my Goodreads Blog about Beauty and the Romance Novel, HERE.

Anyway, getting back to the whole ridiculously good-looking guy that I kind of, maybe, sorta pictured...
Wordfreak was conceived on a happy February day on top of a  cyber Scrabble board between a lot of neatly arranged Scrabble tiles. I already had Worddiva sitting on a throne in my head (she came first, women always should) and had penned her down and pegged her pretty much in the first couple of pages of my creative writing assignment. As Worddiva's love interest, I wanted a superstar. Why? Why not? Anyway, I thought SRK? (Love him!) Nope, too old, I concluded after a great internal debate. So, hero should be someone who is not too old. Hm. How about if I go young? And here, I got inspired by JAMMF (Love him too!) Hence, my hero became a really tall, heart-poundingly good-looking superstar without red hair. Was sad about the no red hair bit but if my book's hero was to be of Indian descent then a crop of dark hair would be more believable. The hero, like JAMMF, would be younger than the heroine. 
Now, moving on to names...
My online gaming addiction paved the way for their handles: Worddiva was a no brainer (its a handle I have used in various spellings on various gaming sites.) Wordfreak was inspired by a book called Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis that explores the world of competitive Scrabble (interesting read, that.) The book was lent to me by a good friend, a fellow Scrabble player, my beta reader and general sounding board for a multitude of silly things, not the least of which is the Mahabharata. (That reminds me, I have to return the book to her one of these days. Ooops!)
Anyhoo, that's how I got "Wordfreak."
Then came the challenges. What about his real name? For that matter, Worddiva's real name? To answer those questions, I had to first decide where the two originated from. India or abroad? Indians or Anglos? North India or South? I liked the idea of "opposites attract" and went with that. So, Wordfreak's character sketch expanded. He was now a North Indian superstar, tall, good-looking, well-read (can't abide brainless characters on or off the pages of my novel) Scrabble lover, online gamer who would also...save the planet with his green home building! (Traces of my homeboy there. Not the home building but the "save the planet "hobby.) My imagination was in warp drive by then. Let's make him filthy rich too, I decided greedily. Why? No answer except that I was making this stuff up as I wrote without a plan or plot or even a goal to FINISH writing the novel. Having it PUBLISHED hadn't even entered the orbit of my elliptical thoughts at the time. I went with my instincts (and my fav superstar.) I got "Aryan" off SRK's son (sp might be diff.) The Rajaram and Chawla were plucked from the WWW. Same with Alisha Menon. As Wordfreak's polar opposite, she'd be a South Indian beauty, self-sufficient, brainy, opinionated, a borderline feminist and poor. Well, not poor but not rich. She'd be a divorce lawyer and would come from a broken family. That would take care of conflict. He would also come from a broken family. Yay! More delicious conflict. 
So now I had my heroine and hero, knew what they looked like, who they were and where they ought to go with their personal hurdles in place. I'd already written about their meet-cute (which happened off-page, riling up quite a number of readers who think I've cheated them out of it. Oops, again) and their happy ending.
Damn, the novel was no longer a kinda, maybe, sorta thing anymore. I had Wordfreak in my head and his story was unfolding better than fine. 
It's Your Move, Wordfreak! unfolded better than fine.

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