Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some characters just take on a life of their own.

There are some characters who stick out in your mind. As an author it’s impossible to have a favorite character. But there are characters I’ve created that I like more than others—there are about twenty that are distinguished above the rest.

One of these characters, I introduced earlier: Darcie Pay Warburton, Private Investigator with enough quirks for anybody.

Darcie is real to me in a way that very few other characters I’ve created have been. Most of my characters belong in fantasy novels and so there’s that separation of everything they experience is distant.

Then nearly the rest of my characters have pasts that make me want to cringe. Consequently, they are not as open. It takes a lot of prying to get any information. There’s that distance and that mystery of what they aren’t telling me. They are the characters that make me want to scream: Are you trying to make yourself miserable? Why must you destroy every good thing that comes your way?

 Darcie isn’t like that. She is one of the more open characters I’ve ever written. That is not to say she doesn’t have her own problems. Believe me she does. But she hasn’t shut down. She’s happy and willing to move on. She’s tough. In other words, she’s a character I’m drawn to.

I write about her and I just feel so involved in the story. I hope that the readers feel as attached as I do.

Darcie is quirky. She’s downright klutzy, she’s curious to a fault, and she has gotten more tickets than anybody could imagine. She likes to drive and she likes to drive fast.

While working a case, she stays up until three in the morning working on a case before she realizes that she hasn’t slept more than three hours in a week. During a case, she lives off of pie…it is fast and it’s her comfort food.

I’m working on the fourth book in the series. She came to life in the third book and I absolutely fell in love with her. Now in the fourth book, she’s the main character. I think that this may be the best novel I’ve ever written…I’m a fantasy writer, but I think my best novel is romantic suspense. That’s odd.

Darcie is one character that I look back on and think, “Wow. I created her. How did I manage that?”

The reason is she stopped being a character in my mind and took on her own life, her own story. I got inside her head and started writing. It’s a very rewarding experience.

I don’t think authors realize when they are treating characters as characters and not people. But that is a terrible mistake. Characters need to be viewed as people or else they are flat.

One of the best authors at viewing her characters as people is Anne Osterlund. Why? Because she is willing to use her imagination and let her characters come to life. She’s willing to explore her options and look at her characters as people. Her blog is one of the most entertaining I’ve ever read. For everybody out there, I definitely recommend looking at it. Go to the archives. Start at her first post and then work your way up. It will be very enlightening as well as amusing.

I found her blog this past March and found much to my surprise that our first blog post is very similar...strange. We both entitled it to blog or not to blog and were talking to a character/muse. And here I thought I was original. :)

The lesson I learned is I really do need to take more time and make my characters people, not just characters. I offer the same advice to any other writers out there. Look at your characters, chances are you won't find they are flat, but maybe you'll find some way you can make them more alive. It's definitely worth looking into.

1 comment:

  1. I think a lot of authors find that moment, where they say, "But I'm a ______ author! Why is this romance my best work?!" LOL. I'm deep in the fantasy and sci-fi world with my writing, and yet my chick lit is probably one of my best, well plotted peices I've ever done. Weird how that happens.

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