The other day a friend asked how I kept all my characters separate, especially since I do have a type that I write- aka tough chicks.
I’m sure I blinked my eyes at her for a few moments in confusion before I stammered out, “Because they’re different people!”
To me it would be as if someone came and said, “You have so many friends- however do you keep them separate?” Has anyone, without a disorder of some sort, had trouble confusing their friends? I don’t think so.
To me my characters are like friends- even the ones I wouldn’t want to be friends with. I know them, I know their differences and nuances in behavior. My two closet characters are probably Vas (The Victorious Dead- Space Opera) and Sakari (Sakari’s War- fantasy steampunk in progress). Both are by far my toughest of the tough chicks. Both have probably killed far more people than they care to think about. But there are differences. Sakari used to be an assassin, she killed who she was told to kill, and fled that life. She still has no problem with killing if it’s called for, but she’ll ask questions afterwards. Vas is a kill first ask questions never gal- or at least she starts out that way. But even though both women have blood on their hands, their reactions and temperaments are vastly different. If I’m writing about Vas, words that Sakari would use would never come out.
Unlike a visual media, writers don’t have something in front of them reminding them that oh yeah this character has red hair and is taller.(Ok, so folks who use clippings, planning books, and Pinterest might- but I doubt they need to visually remind themselves which character is which ;)). But what we do have is how they sounds or are seen in our head. I see my characters, but it’s not just how they look, it’s how they feel, how they react to the world around them.
They are all as unique as the real people in my life- maybe even more so since I know everything about them :).
What about you- do you have a “type” of character you lean towards? Have you ever had a problem keeping lead characters straight?