Choosing the Right Character

When I first started writing my stories, I shared them with a very good friend.  She was someone who  never judged me.  Intrigued with what she considered an awe-inspiring skill, she asked me how I chose my characters.

Well, my heroine was actually simple. 

I created her out of my feelings.  No one will ever know her like I do.  She possesses my passions, my fears, my code of ethics.  She is also real, forward and makes her own way.  When I make her dance over a page, she's acting out my very desires, thinking my thoughs.  I know what she likes to eat, how she prefers to dress.  She's funny, witty, sweet with an undelying naughtiness.

Choosing my hero, well, that was a different story all together.  That's where the fantasy begins.  He's not a shifter by any means, but he's also not altogether human.  I should start from the begining, with my friend's question.

"How did  you choose your hero?" she asked.

"It was easy," I said.  "I slept with him."

"What!?"  That was her response, but having become familiar with my eccentricity, she waited for my reply.

"Well, not for real.  This is fiction."  Let me explain.

There were three men who interviewed for the position, in my mind's eye.  Consider the fact that I have owned my heroine, so I know what she prefers in her counterpart.  These three, who have all made it into my books, have distinct personalities.  There was only one way to figure them out.  I took them all on a date.

Bachelor number 1 was flirtatious, powerful, and offered a slightly complicated relationship.  I wanted to play with him, but it wouldn't lead to anything serious.

Bachelor number 2 was brainy, kind, and left me gaping half the time with his acquired knowledge.  I wanted to be his friend and use his toys.

Bachelor number 3 liked Chinese noodles.  He enjoyed mixing silk and leather.  His passions ran deep, along with his temper.  There was something in his eyes, a certainty that he would know exactly what to do and what to say.  He held the world on his shoulders.  Although he could handle it, he was secretly vulnerable.  I needed to look deeper.

I let him take out to dinner.   He wore one of those ruffled shirts that have no place on such a brawny man, and he looked fantastic.  Leather pants hugged his hips down to his ankles like a glove.  He poured me wine, a fine Merlot, rich, dark, full-bodied.  He raised the cup to my lips and leaned forward.  His eyes crinkled at the corners as I took that first sip.  His lips tilted up just a fraction.

"Why are you doing this?" I heard myself whisper.

He leaned even closer, licked his lips.  "I'm a filthy, lascivious, fornicating feline.  What's your excuse?"

That's when I knew he was the one.  He was secure.  Life was at his fingertips.  He was perfection.

I took him home and ravished him in the shower.  He's been my hero ever since. 

I get involved with  my characters.  It's how I make the stories work. 

Artists will submerge themselves in their art.  They will paint their bodies, stroke a brush against canvas relentlessly night after night before collapsing in a heap of exhaustion.  During that time they might refuse to eat, bathe, sleep.  That is passion, devotion, love for the art.  Eccentric you say.  You betcha, and it's what works for them.  I respect that.

Writers write all the time, even when they're not holding a pen or stroking keys.  They think about it, construct plots, carry pages of dialogue in their purse that they've scribbled on a pad in the spur of the moment because some great scenario just leaped into their heads.  Well, at least I do. 

I could be at the mall and wonder what my characters will wear, be watching a TV show and consider how they would react in  a certain situation.  If I'm at a restaurant, I wonder what food they would order from the menu or how so and so's hand would look while petting my dogs.

I love it, the whole process of writing, except for the querying part. 

I'm going to close this post with a few words from a fabulous man.  He's a buddy of mine who happens to make a guest appearance in one of my books.  Centuries later he still has me in awe because of his liberal views of life.


                          I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your
                          right to say it.