AW April Blog Chain — What Would It Be Like to Meet My Novels’ Characters?

This month the AW blog chain topic involves a clever bit of “what if?”   RavenCorinnCarluk preceded me and DavidZahir will follow me.  All the other blog chain participants are listed at the end.

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):
Forbidden Snowflake:
Leah Raeder:

11 thoughts on “AW April Blog Chain — What Would It Be Like to Meet My Novels’ Characters?

  1. Great post, Claire. Wow, you are writing a lot of different books. Thats great. I’m only working on my second book right now, soon to be starting my third book…all the while still trying to get the first one published. I totally agree with your outlook on the antagonists. They are sure fun to watch, but they sure as heck would be an adventure gone bad to meet. I wouldn’t want to meet the antagonists in my book.

  2. I want to meet Jon. 🙂 Gayle can go find a hole to dig into. 😉 But don’t tell my hubby ‘cuz fake or not, he’s read “the scene”. 😉 Can’t wait to meet Jude, too!!

    It’s funny to think that if you met them you’d already know ALL about them, but I *bet* there is some new secret that you hadn’t thought of in those 90k words. 🙂

  3. 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?

    I don’t know how long you’ve been writing or how “old” your characters are, or if you preffer, how long they’ve been with you but I’ve found some characters tell me things years, years after I thought I knew everything about them. Just two weeks ago I learned a character I’ve had since 2001 didn’t know his mother and grew up in a single father house-hold.

    You’d be surprised at what they’re hiding from you.

    Great post!

  4. Aimee has hit on something which makes me think that there is something in writing which taps into magic, or the subconscious, or… something. Characters often do things I haven’t planned, and never expected them to do. I often have to backtrack and work out why they have done something, because the unexpected stuff can be so completely out of (what I perceive to be) their character.

    Even with the knowledge that I made them up, my characters are very surprising. That makes them interesting to write, and – hopefully – interesting to read.

  5. LOL!
    We created them, so yeah… Not much they could surprise us with. Even the hunks have already had their happily ever after, so I’d feel like a home wrecker. Maybe the best place for them is to stay on the page 😉


  6. I’m with the people who say that your characters can surprise you. Why else do we write? There is always room for development.

    But sure, a character can be boring. Then it’s maybe time to “kill” em, or figure out a way to make them more interesting. Not that I know much as you’ll see when you read my post. I’m just a newbie.

  7. Wow! I’m not the only one with lots of projects shaping up simultaneously. 😉

    I must say, though, that I am also of the “characters can surprise you” clan. I find that once my characters are well-defined, they take a life of their own. And sometimes, that life forces me to rethink parts of the plot because the characters just won’t do it.
    That is when I know that my subconscious is trying to guide me. When I know the story is really taking flight.

  8. Thanks for all the reads everyone. Interesting how strongly some of my fellow writers see their characters as being so separate from themselves. I’m not saying my characters couldn’t surprise me, just that it would probably take a lot of chit chat on a lot of topics before that might happen. I know them a lot better than they know me.

    No doubt, they’d find me incredibly fascinating and insightful, not to mention clairvoyant. LOL

  9. I agree that characters often take on a life of their own. Some, I find, speak to me and aren’t always happy with what I would prefer them to do. That’s when things get rough.

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