Archive | 2:56 pm

Investment in Characters

5 Feb

I was talking to our barista the other day, and somehow the conversation came around to bucket lists.  One of the items on her list is to see a herd of wild horses running across a field.  I don’t know why, but that just seemed so random to me.  Never in a million years would I have thought of that as a bucket list item.

Then last night I watched a news special report on the BTK Killer, who, to all who knew him, just appeared to be the most normal neighbor and co-worker.  It was as though he was a random selection by nature to be this ghastly serial killer.

Now the reason I mentioned those two “random” thoughts is because, as a creative writer, I am always creating characters, giving them personalities, making them come alive in some sort of realistic fashion, and those two examples remind me that truth is often stranger than fiction, and I really do have the freedom to expand my thinking when I’m creating a “person” in a book.

I’m not sure if it is terribly important that a character be “believable” compared to my logical world; what I do believe is that we make that character someone we can invest emotional currency in.  In my Shadow series I have a character named Striker, who is a stone-cold killer, really completely unlike anyone you and I would ever meet in real life.  My job, then, is to transcend logic and make Striker so interesting that you, the reader, look forward to every scene Striker appears in, and forget that Striker is almost totally removed from our realities.

Does that make sense?

I think what I’m saying is don’t let logic stop you when creating characters.  Make the character interesting and people will accept the fact that reality has been suspended.

It is, after all, fiction we’re talking about.

Bill

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”