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The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe The first film in Walden Media's Narnia film series

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Old 07-07-2013, 07:27 PM
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Default How He Wrote It

We know from C.S. Lewis' own testimony that a mental image of a mythical Faun walking in snow came to him before he had written even one line of "Lion/Witch/Wardrobe." We also know that, as he was developing the concept of Narnia, the character of Aslan came leaping into his mind.

Perhaps others here have formed opinions of what it must have felt like for Lewis himself to be INSIDE the experience of writing the story.
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:42 PM
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Certainly he had his own private way of hearing the characters and seeing them...their mannerisms and backstories.

It would have been great if CSL had possessed the talent to draw these fleeting images for posterity.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:58 PM
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You both being writers, I'm sure you've experienced the phenomenon of having a character either just "show up" in a story, or take on additional character and depth and "run away" with parts you never expected. I know that's happened to me - in fact, one of the most vivid characters in my recent book was just one of those. I was trying to mentally picture a certain scene in the story, and this character just showed up out of the clear blue. She went on to become a major personality in that part of the story.

Not only did Lewis experience it, but so did Tolkien. I remember reading a snippet of a letter he was writing to someone about the story he was writing, and how the journeying hobbits had just arrived at the inn at Bree. Tolkien wrote (paraphrasing from memory here) that "this shadowed character has just shown up at the Inn at Bree. I don't know what he's doing there, but I'm sure he'll play some role."

That was Aragorn.

ARAGORN!

One of the most central figures in the entire story, one of the most beloved figures in all literature, arguably THE character around whom the tale revolves, yet Tolkien didn't even begin the story with him in mind, and he just "showed up" along the way.

So clearly Lewis wasn't the only one to whom that sort of thing happened - and neither am I.
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:11 AM
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Didn't Lewis say that "a lion came bounding into the story" and took it over from him? I forget where I've heard that...but I don't think it was by accident.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:44 AM
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I can't swear that those were the precise words, but that was definitely the impression that Lewis gave in a letter he wrote to a friend about the time he was seriously composing Lion. I remember reading an excerpt from the letter. Incredible, isn't it? You'd think that Lewis would have had Aslan central to the story from the outset, but apparently He was a later add-in.
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:03 PM
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Yes, Lewis did say something like that about Aslan. He was already a firmly-committed Christian before Narnia took shape in his mind, but remember that, in his journey TO faith, God had graciously USED his enjoyment of mythical stories to help him understand what he was looking for. Thus, even if Narnia had somehow been developed WITHOUT Aslan, I'm sure that Lewis would have included SOMETHING of genuine spiritual merit in it; but it was the most natural SUPER-natural thing in the world for Aslan to "bound in and take over."

As for Aragorn, in his VERY FIRST form, he was an adventurous HOBBIT going by the name of Trotter.

About characters taking on their own life:

When I write fiction, I am pretty deliberate about my characters. Alipang Havens is EXACTLY the kind of person I wanted him to be; and Eliot Granholm, the rebooted version of my Grey Eagle character, also has PRECISELY the temperament and feelings I want him to have. But although my CENTRAL characters usually "obey" my wishes, major SUPPORTING characters will often get the bit in their teeth and take off running. For instance, in "The Possible Future of Alipang Havens," the sexpot character of Osmawani Jalil has turned into a much more complex personality than I originally intended.
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Old 07-08-2013, 02:42 PM
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Those who remember my Byron on Wells stories would be surprised to know that the fox pup Bramble was merely Buck's sidekick in the original idea.

Characters with obvious leading merit will begin to demand a larger role. It's hard to explain to someone who is not an author.
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:22 PM
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I certainly remember Byron-on-Wells. I urge all new members to track down those old specialized Narnian-world stories. With a clarifying note: the NAME "Byron," in the real world, was really a WORD which then BECAME a name. The WORD "byron" is a sort of geographical term, which is how Badger used it when creating the imagined PLACE Byron-on-Wells.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:08 PM
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For me, when I write, it feels more like an investigation. I get a basic plot for a story and then figure out who was involved and everything that happened. Of course, sometimes it feels like parts of the story just write themselves. I remember one story I was writing, without even thinking about it, the sibling dynamics of three secondary characters came together perfectly.

Where the stories come from, sometimes, I will read a sentence from another story and get an idea from there. I can understand completely how an image can inspire a story.

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Old 07-08-2013, 11:47 PM
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MrBob, what you just wrote reminds me of how some sculptors will say that they know the final shape is IN THERE, and they just have to set it free from the stone.
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