Earlier on today, I had no idea what I was going to write for today’s blog. However, I’ve just watched an hour long TV programme about young vets completing their training at an animal hospital. Not because I enjoy watching fairly gory surgery on animals, but because my latest hero is a veterinary surgeon. Yes, I did make some notes about diseases or injuries I could possibly use in my story, including details of a constipated cat!
I started to wonder why I decided to make my hero a vet. When I started this story, I had no real knowledge of vets, apart from occasional visits to a local one when I had a cat many years ago. So why did I choose this occupation? Why not something simpler like a pub landlord or even a hotel owner? The short answer is that he chose his own profession! Don’t ask me how or why, but in the first chapter, when he’s introducing himself to the heroine, he tells her he’s a vet – and after that, I couldn’t change his job to anything else!
Thinking about my other heroes, I’ve had a theatre director, a journalist/novelist, an archaeologist, a deputy head at a high school, a volcanologist, and a sign painter/artist – and in every case, the hero’s occupation has proved to be central to the story.
My heroines have been less varied – I’ve had three actresses (albeit all at different stages of their careers), a school teacher, a college professor, and a cruise ship tour guide. But again, their occupations have been essential in the development of the story.
I’ve read stories where the main characters’ occupations have been fairly incidental to the story line, so I can’t quite decide why all mine have had their particular jobs, even though in most cases, this has involved me in a lot of research.
I’ll be interested to know how you choose the occupations of your characters, how big a part those occupations play in your stories, and how much research you need to do.