Bringing Brás to life
I used to hear about writers saying how characters would get a life of their own, would start to choose what they were going to say, write their own dialogues and stuff and, well, I thought that was all really pretty and romantic, but I was more down to earth, more practical type of guy. All I'm saying is that the writer has the ideas, he is the one who comes up with everything and creates everything. There's no such thing as characters coming to life and deciding their own fate on the story.
Well, I used to think that way. Now I'm pretty sure I was wrong.
Before we started working on DAYTRIPPER, our character didn't work at a newspaper, didn't want to be a writer, didn't even have a name, he would just die. There was just a concept of a story and this person who would die (over and over) would help us tell a story about life.
We also knew that we would tell the story in chapters separated by long periods of time, on a non linear sequence. That way we could have big changes happen in the main character's life without having to spend hundreds of issues telling every little detail of his life. We would just tell the important, meaningful ones. Life has it's boring, dull and uninteresting moments and I think there's enough comics about that already. We wanted to show that life can be wonderful, great and magical. Life can be super.
Well, after we gave birth to our character we had to name him. He would be called Brás, as a reference to "Posthumous memoirs of Brás Cubas", a classic novel from Brazilian writer Machado de Assis, where the main character narrates his life after he's passed away. Our Brás' name was chosen by his father, a novelist himself and that would help enlarge the literary burden Brás would carry throughout the story, because we needed some kind of tension on our tale. Finally, we decided he would work on a newspaper, writing obituaries, because people who write obituaries will often search the most significant moments on the life of the deceased, they will write about them as if they were important in some way. And that was the metaphor for our entire series.
All those premises had opened unlimited possibilities of stories for us to tell, but we knew we needed it to lead somewhere, to have an end. We would be talking about death, about ending, and we needed to set our tale as a mini-series. And that's when we had to actually choose which moments in Brás' life we would show and what we could tell with each one of them.
Once we started writing the basic plots for each chapter, some parameters started to be set up, a kind of order that would rule the universe of our story. When we realizes that, we couldn't choose anything anymore, only the things that would make sense and would help telling our story. Brás was no longer a man who would do anything, because he was developing a character, an opinion, a backbone.
And then Brás came to life. That's when he started to tell his own story.
We changed so many things we had prepared for the story because of this new Brás, because it would feel right – and this "feeling" was the most important part of our story, something that would feel real. He has even changed a couple of his deaths. Because of Brás, we started to tell a better a story.
Three years have passed since we first started to write this story. During these years, Brás has lived with us, shared our dreams and talked about the wonders of life. Now he's alive and well, going out the door to meet new people and remind them how wonderful their lives can be, even if he has to write about death in the meantime.