Where do your characters come from?
I have no idea. Back when I attempted my first novel, my main character was a fictionalized version of me. She lived in the suburbs like me. And actually, that’s where the similarities ended, but it was my first attempt at fictionalizing my life. I tried it one other time with my next novel attempt (actually finished that one), and then I lost all interest in writing about myself.
But I think about this sometimes, if I can see myself in any of my characters. None of them are purposefully like me, so it’s fun to see what aspects our personalities we have in common, because I think a bit of ourselves can’t help but rub off on some of our characters sometimes.
It’s interesting though. In the recently completed DISCORD, the main character is so weird, even I think she’s weird! Like me, she’s guarded, but it’s on a whole different level of paranoia, unlike anything I’ve ever written before. I try to stay true to the little monsters so I just went with it, and OMG, when she finally broke down, it was all worth it. All the trouble the story ever gave me = worth it. All the reservations I had about her personality = gone. It was amazing. ^_^
But still, I have no idea where she came from, besides the deep, dark recesses of my brain. She was just there, waiting for the right opportunity to attack me, waiting for my guard to be down. Waiting for me to be super distracted. She was sneaky like that. And that was smart of her, because I have to be honest. If she had come up to me a year ago and asked me to write her story, I would have run away. As it was, she caught me open-minded and wandering.
Because I was at a loss, you know. I was swimming in ideas, yeah, but I was afraid to work on any of them, because I was afraid of messing them up. And I was afraid of finishing something because I didn’t want to go into the query trenches again. So it would have to be something pretty intriguing and different to get me not only to give it a try, but to finish it and hop back in the trenches with it.
And I still have no idea why I thought it was so interesting.
So, I look at who I have on my plate now, Riley, Jade, and Safara. Where did they come from?
Safara started talking to me one random December morning while I was driving to work. Just started talking to me out of nowhere while she floating there, underwater, not a mermaid. And I thought, “She’s interesting! How is she pulling that off?!”
Jade was inspired by a folklore character I’m infatuated with, so I actually do know where she came from, though I don’t know why she’s a twin (because she’s not in the folklore) or why she has the kind of messed up sense of humor that she has. But I can see why I find her so interesting at least, and Safara as well, unlike the last character in this list.
Riley is the most normal girl I have ever written about. Yeah, she’s an orphan, but she has no special abilities. She’s not even especially weird or crazy or even temperamental. She’s just a teenager, recently dumped, who’s trying to move on with her life. And I’m looking at her like, “Why do I like you so much?” I can’t for the life of me figure out why she’s was worth so much trouble.
Why did I promise her I’d find her a story when so many seemingly more interesting characters get nothing?
Yes, I have the odd regular girl story in the the story graveyard, but the rest of the place is full of chosen ones, people with interesting abilities, or at the VERY LEAST, people with powerful friends. Even Riley’s friends are normal.
And I have no idea where she came from either. I was playing a Temple Run game one Thursday afternoon March of 2013 (yep), and suddenly I see this girl running around getting attacked by stuff, and though she was tough, she WASN’T FIGHTING BACK! And still, for some reason, I dropped my phone and ran for a notebook and a pen. And I had her name, and everyone else’s, in a matter of minutes. Minutes.
And names are the hardest most grievous part of the story for me. (That and organizing my brainstorming notes.) And Riley gave me her name and theirs on a platter. Maybe that’s why I like her so much.
And hey, if this goes well, and so far it is! This just may inspire more “average” MCs for me! It’s something I’ve been afraid of for a while, thinking myself incapable of pulling it off. I have a lot of ideas, and some of them are regular peeps who find themselves in the craziest situations, and I would so love to write them all, though I’m looking at one particular idea on the horizon! (Coming for ya, chica!) 😉
So tell me…Do you know where your characters come from?
Side Note: The September Secret Agent Contest over on Miss Snark’s First Victim opens up next Monday (the 8th). It’s the last one for the year! Accepting MG, YA, and Adult submissions this round. 🙂