Monday, February 8, 2010

Creating characters

I create heroines, heroes, confidants, and villains differently.

My first heroine started out as me in a different setting and predicament. I needed to spend time in the story with 'me-her' before she emerged as an independent character in the last chapter. For my time travel, I wrote symbiotically with my heroine; she acted and reacted as I would have under similar circumstances. For my romantic suspense WIP, my heroine is fully independent. She and I have similar interests, but her life is her own. I am along for her ride.

My heros are assemblages of leading men: tall and determined like Tom Selleck; strong and capable as Sean Connery. Way back when, I swooned over reformed bad boy Harrison Ford in Star Wars. I recently rewatched Jim Cavieziel in The Count of Monte Crisco. What a transformation from victim to aristocrat! He had good material to work with (and a big budget with lavish sets and costumes) but the way he evolved the character was inspiring. I recall words to a song by Judy Collins: the man was small and short, but left his women begging for more. I want a hero who will haunt my dreams long after 'The End.'

Confidants come in all shape and sizes. Even discorporate ones. I have to remember to not fall into stereotypes: The wise old teacher. The kindly aunt/neighbor. The wide-eyed savant child. The wind that whispers.

Villains are the most fun. They are ruthless and powerful. They can be beautiful or homely. They can dance or slink. Down to their rings, their wardrobe says it all. They are what they wear. They have allies and cohorts to do their bidding. They have unlimited resources yet crave something more. If human activity is predicated upon core, elemental desires: sex, power, money, then villians are easy.

The noble motivations: compassion, truth, justice, honor and love are qualities we revere, but writing them into believable, multi-dimensional characters is harder for me.

What a wonderful challenge.

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