From Girl to Goddess: The Author/Character Parallel
It has been noted that authors sometimes put a lot of themselves into their favourite main characters. Personality quirks, expressions, similar histories, shared experiences. I certainly find myself drawing on these things with many of my main characters, though usually subconsciously. I guess it’s easier to write a character you can relate to in some way, and Ange in Atomic Goddess is no exception.
When I first started writing the story that became Atomic Goddess, I had formed a good idea of Ange’s personality traits and mannerisms along with the initial plot outline. I liked her quirky, dark sense of humour, and her no-nonsense attitude. But I really thought she was nothing like me at all…
The first indication I had that I’d drawn on my own character traits when developing Ange came when a good friend and fellow-author read an early draft of the story. She commented that (as I had put in only a little physical description of Ange) she had simply pictured me as she read. That’s ridiculous, I thought. Ange is nothing like me – she’s short, skinny and athletic, has dark hair and eyes, and talks and acts very differently to me.
And as far as personality goes, she’s often tactless and blunt, calls things as she sees them, and has no time for time-wasters or people who are cruel or thoughtless – although she sometimes is herself.
No, not ANYTHING like me.
Well, maybe the wicked sense of humour…
And yet my friend insisted that Ange and I seemed to her to be very much alike. I found this insistence rather strange, and it got me thinking more deeply about Ange’s character and her motivations.
Eventually I came to realise that, though some of the surface traits and characteristics between us differed, the deeper, more fundamental aspects of my persona had come through very strongly in Ange. Like a profound sense of right and wrong and fairness, of morals and decency, of empathy and compassion, of the drive to understand the self and other human beings, how the world worked, and to help make the world a better place for all.
I worked out that for Ange to do the things she needed to do in the story, she also had to overcome her negative personality traits to grow as a person – one who believed to the core of her soul in true brotherly and sisterly love and understanding, peace and forgiveness, equality and mutual respect between all people, as well as a deep regard and respect for the earth itself and all its life forms. And thus truly become a goddess.
High and lofty sentiments, right? Especially for an introverted-to-the-point-of-being-anti-social, self-defensive and seemingly intolerant person like Ange. But when I examined her more closely, I found that her interior and exterior states of being could be reconciled after all.
Because she was a complex and evolving human being. Just like me.
The Ange at the beginning of the story is possibly the person I could have turned out to be if I hadn’t chosen a particular course in life – that is, to strive to understand what made me tick, to seek out the things I didn’t like about myself, and to consciously mould myself into the person I really aspired to be.
This happened back in my early twenties, after a childhood and teenage years filled with difficult experiences and emotions. The parallel with Ange became obvious. I had given her a past somewhat similar to mine – a young life full of instability due to moving towns and schools many times. The pain of having a parent who didn’t appear to love or relate to their child. A fear of criticism and sense of not being good enough, which caused defensive reactions. And a feeling of always being an outsider, someone that few people really liked or wanted to have around.
In short, someone who was so afraid of being hurt again that they built a defensive wall around themselves to try and shut unhappy experiences out.
Luckily, I decided to get off the pity-party band-wagon at that point and to be proactive in building myself into the person I would rather be. Yay me! It worked.
And Ange – at probably about the same age as I was – had started to make some healthier choices for herself, too. Because by the point at which the story starts, she has analysed herself in much the same way I had and drawn certain conclusions about herself and how to set herself on the path to self-improvement.
Mind you, none of this was easy for me – or for Ange. By the beginning of the story, she has delved into her spirituality, found a little inner peace, and attracted a wonderful boyfriend, Gabe, who she considers to be her soul mate. These things had happened for me too – though not in that order.
But there’s so much more inner work for her to do to be worthy to fulfil her ‘mission’. Her journey towards this state of being means she has to change – a lot. She tries to make things better, and fails – many times. She suffers disillusionment, set-backs and catastrophes, some colossal in nature, and several times comes close to having her spirit broken. Each time she must choose to pull herself together, gather her resources, and find new and better ways of going about things. She moulds herself into a new person – a goddess, through sheer willpower.
Again, this resonates with my own inner journey. Dealing with all the hurts – both the petty and the soul-wrenching – that life throws up. Learning to humble oneself and learn from life’s lessons, and to ever evolve into a new and better version of oneself. Of course, it’s a journey that never ends until one’s dying day – and then, possibly, beyond that, depending on what may exist once life in this form is finished.
Just like me (and everyone else), Ange has to delve deep within to find the courage and resources to keep going when times are tough. By the end of the story, she will have transformed herself fully into Isis, the Goddess beloved by the ancient Egyptians and many others. She will be tempered by fire, many times over, and forge herself into the most optimal form to achieve success.
Me… Well, I still have a long way to go on my own journey. But I do feel gratified that I have come as far as I have along the path I chose. Whilst I may not be trying to attain Goddess status, I can work on simply being the best Lana I can be.
And that’s got to be a good thing in the end.
Keep a smile on your dial until next time, and peace and love in your heart
From Lana Lea and her time-travelling muse