Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I see written people!.

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?


  1. So true, Marie. My characters are individuals like real people are. I tried finding pics that look like my main characters and guess what, I couldn't find any because no one looks like Bane or Henry or Archibald.

    I don't lean toward one sex over the other. I've written stories with men and women as the main characters. The women leads do tend to have a inner strength that it takes them time to find. The men tend to be widowers and the deaths of their wives have always affected them traumatically.

    I don't have a problem keeping characters straight, although sometimes when I've been away from a story for awhile and think of something I want to do with the story, I find I can't think of their names. "Oh, that's the blonde guy with the tattoos. Or that's the darkly handsome wizard who's 150 years old, but looks 40." I remember all their back story, all their motivations, but sometimes the names escape me.


    1. Thanks for coming by and commenting Sharon :). I think it's great that while you may forget their names sometimes- you don't forget THEM! :)

      Thanks for visiting!

      Marie- at work- going in as annon ;)

  2. I was chatting with a woman when I was doing a booksigning, and suddenly she gave the strangest look and said, "Your characters are real to you!"
    Well, yeah. I told her of course they were. They had to be. That if they weren't real to me, then I could never bring them to life in the books. She finally nodded and admitted she'd never thought about a writer's relationship with her characters before.

    I have a sign on my office wall that sort of sums up how I feel about characters: Madness does not always howl. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,"Hey, is there room in your head for one more?"

    Love that--

    1. Hi Alexis! I love that quote! (and may need it for my office as well ;)). I agree, if our characters aren't real to us, how can we make them feel real to a reader?

      Great comments- thanks for coming by!

  3. Marie,

    Great post! The title hooked me in with a grin.

    I know, right? How do the non-writers around me survive without falling over from sheer boredom? They don't have entire casts of characters trooping around in their minds, to occupy every spare moment.

    I think the last time I was bored was 1980-something, before I started writing romance. And I can still tell you little anecdotes about every one of my characters; scenes and backstory that didn't make it into their published books.

    The extreme joy is when readers write to say they want more of my characters, 'cause that means my people are real to them, too.


    1. Thanks Cathryn!:)

      That's an excellent point- writers are never bored- we always have new worlds and characters to explore and visit ;). That is wonderful if folks are asking for more about your characters- you're clearly doing it right!
      Thanks for coming by and commenting :).