March 15, 2009

The Road Chelle Cordero Took

Chelle Cordero comes to you today by way of MySpace friendship. You can also find her at her blog. She's written several romances with Vanilla Heart Publishing.


The Road I Took
by Chelle Cordero

As a youngster I was always fascinated by Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” and the concept that every decision we make can have life altering effects.

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

I have never regretted the roads I chose to lead me to where my life is now, but I certainly had no idea when I was a teen of the things I would get to see and do in my lifetime. At the age of 17, I was convinced that I was going to be an actress on stage or in movies.

I went to a specialized high school (The High School of Art & Design in NYC) and studied the back stage arts. Willing to pay my dues and work anywhere I could just to be close to the “greasepaint”, I worked sound and lighting in off-off Broadway and Summer Stock. I also went to a weekend program at the New York Academy for the Arts. Then I studied drama at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus.

At some point during these years a director made a statement to me that gave me pause about my choice of a career – She told me that to succeed as an actress I would have to make everything else secondary, including my family. It was a statement that weighed heavily on me. I was passionate about several things – passionate about my family and friends, passionate about my community, and passionate about the arts such as writing and, even though I am horribly tone-deaf, music. And yes, I had even known passion in relationships. I knew enough about myself to realize that I could never allow so many other parts of my life to be secondary.

I had the opportunity to write, an activity I had always enjoyed, and I got published in my college newspaper and the local community paper. I kept a composition notebook at my side at all times and scribbled thoughts and ideas. I wrote scripts (for my own benefit) for my favorite TV shows and I always cast myself in a starring role. Although I still pursued theatre, the change in me had already started. By the time I was married (something else that, by the way, had not been in my original plans), I knew I wanted to write. And I did write as a hobby for many years.

When I was pregnant with our first child, I stopped working outside of the home. We had the old fashioned notion that it would be nice to have a full time at home parent, but who these days could afford to lose the second income? It was then that I decided to pursue my love of writing as a business and I managed to convince a local editor to give me a column where I wrote about local issues. Although that publication folded several years later, it had launched my professional writing career.

Here I am today still writing, still allowing my imagination to create worlds and adventure. I’ve been asked how I put so much depth into my characters and the funny thing is, I use my acting and theatre training. I build my characters with histories that color their attitudes, I toss conflicts in their paths and I let them decide, almost like method acting, how they are going to react.

And just like me, it is fun to see if they are going to choose the road less traveled.


For those of you who write (professionally or for fun), how in control are you of your characters? Mine tend to tell me who they are then bop me on the head if I try to ignore that information.


  1. Hi! Thanks so much for hosting me today. You have a terrific site.

  2. As you describe with acting, I also find that writing constantly tempts me to make everything else secondary.

    Many jobs outside the arts create similar challenges. One can't, for example, be an airline pilot without considering the out-of-town and away-from-family aspects of that work.

    Characters and plots are not only a distraction when weighed against "daily life," they are often more interesting and addictive than any given week of chores. Plus, they are always there, another world, so to speak, competing for time and attention with the "outer world" of one's visible life in the home and community.

    Needless to say, my characters control their destinies while I record what they do almost as though I'm leading a double life filled with people my friends and family have never met.


  3. this was a great guest blog. I have no control over my characters when I write because I am a sports journalist and report the facts. although sometimes characters in reality are better than anything i could create

  4. Haha - yes! Recently I've found my characters are starting to take over the plot, leading the story where they want it to go. Just the other day, when I was writing The Kevlar Moustache (sci fi YA) the characters did something unexpected. So my reaction was basically: "...oh. I didn't know that was coming." Haha, it's pretty cool though.

  5. Life is funny that way. We go down paths, some of which we never even imagine, but we walk them anyway! :)

    My characters do & say whatever they want. I have no control over what my hands write or type. It's as if I'm possessed! LOL :)

  6. I'm beginning to get the feeling that no matter what road you take it's always going to lead back to where you were supposed to go. Maybe it's not a road?
    Maybe it's a maze? And you going down the wrong path only delays you to where you were supposed to go anyway!

  7. Thank you all do stopping by and leaving me these much loved comments...

    Malcolm, I think one of my purposes in breathing life into my characters on a book's pages is so that I can introduce them to my "real" people.

    Erika, how tempting it must be not to add a touch of fantasy into your reporting, lol, think of the stuff that could come out of that.

    Deltay, oh yes, there have been times when my characters have completely thrown me for a loop.

    L.E., it's taking the unexpected things that occur in our lives and using them to make a very interesting life joueney.

    Miikell, that is both disconcerting and comforting. I would hope that choices I make may keep me from some dastardly fate and yet I worry that I am missing an opportunity or such.

  8. I am not in control of my characters. I was working on a manuscript once that I had to put aside temporarily due to life getting in the way. I told my friend that I was pretty sure the characters were alive and stalking me so I'd get back to work. Seriously, my characters seem to take direction that surprises me.

  9. Happy birthday?


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