What if your characters came to life and you had the opportunity to spend time with them? Would you like them, enjoy their company or shudder at even being in the same room with them?
My first thought is, “Gee, I’m so much older than my characters. Would we have anything in common?” And then I remember that I created them so no doubt we have more than a little, age difference be damned. Thankfully, I mostly write in the romance genre so I don’t have that many characters who would make me fear for my safety. Maybe one or two, but they aren’t all that skillful at being evil, truth be told.
As a writer just starting out, I think it’s fair to say that most of my female protagonists are made from the same raw ingredients as me, just rearranged or in different proportions, kind of like a Picasso versus a mirror. Some of them still struggle with the same insecurities that I struggle with, others have overcome them but perhaps struggle with challenges I overcame years ago. But their life experiences can vary significantly and this impacts who they are too.
In terms of compatibility, I’d say that Colin from All’s Fair or Chelsea from Fool’s Bet (RIP) would be the ones I’d feel most comfortable around. I appreciate Colin’s devotion to family, his intelligence, his wry sense of humor, he’s gorgeous and a good lover (I write romance so all my men are…duh!…and since they’re imaginary, hubby doesn’t mind.) Chelsea is closest to my age and the only one of my characters who has children, teen-aged children at that. Plus she’s funny in a self-deprecating kind of way that I like.
As to my other characters: Gayle from The PURE is rash and nosy, Shelby from All’s Fair is prissy, Dori from My Fair Vampire has daddy “issues”. Zach from Fool’s Bet (RIP) has Peter Pan syndrome, Jon from The PURE is socially awkward, Donovan from My Fair Vampire is bossy and promiscuous and Jude, also from My Fair Vampire, is…well I don’t quite know yet because I’m still working on him.
There, I’ve revealed their flaws for all to see. They aren’t perfect; heaven forbid that I create a dreaded Mary Sue. Characters should be interesting but flawed, but flawed in a fascinating way, especially the antagonists. One of my favorite bad guys is Sylar from the TV show Heroes–a ruthless and psychopathic killer but with a dark sense of humor. Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham, from the otherwise forgettable movie Robin Hood, was the one I cheered for because he was so evilly sarcastic. You root for these guys as a sort of guilty pleasure. But, I don’t think I’d want to meet them in the flesh. Observing from the safety of my armchair, Kindle or remote control in hand, is quite sufficient, thank you very much.
But if I’m being honest, I probably wouldn’t want to meet any of them, would find them boring and predictable. What could they tell me about themselves that I (a) didn’t already know or (b) would be surprised to learn? All their jokes I’d have already heard and my sympathy for their plights would have been tapped out ninety thousand freakin’ words ago! So get ’em away from me. Now my fellow authors’ characters…bring ’em on!
April Blog Chain Participants:
AuburnAssassin (me): https://clairegillian.wordpress.com
Forbidden Snowflake: http://www.alleslinks.com/
Leah Raeder: http://words.leahraeder.com/