Characters and Characters

I mentioned this briefly on my facebook page… which you should all go like… but it got me really thinking about my own works… in a writers meeting… something I go to just so they can feel awesome for being in my presence (ha!)… they did this little… activity?.. where everyone gets 3 pieces of paper: 1 for a man, woman, and child… and then they write at least 5 characteristics (personality, physical traits, likes or dislikes) and then we swapped with different people in the group… and I’m like this is just silly… because I’m such an awesome writer that I don’t need any of this ridiculous games to get me writing… but then we had to write a scene with them and that’s where it got a bit interesting because I had to involve the traits these characters were given… and at the end I was talking to the ‘leader’ and she was talking about how we lots of times keep creating the same kind of characters over and over and how doing something like this helps us branch out… and that’s where I got to thinking…

Though I may only have one book out I have several in the making… and several that are just random ingredients… but I was like my characters are all kinds of different people… some are men, some women, some old, not so many kids… or any kids… hmm… anyway, but I really got to thinking about the main characters and though in many ways they are different they are quite often the same in one main place… they are all trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world… and I know that’s not exactly telling you my deep dark worries… but is it really bad that they are common in that way… because I do try to give them different looks and quirks… and I was thinking about the writers I love and how there are sometimes main similarities in the characters…

Take Charlaine Harris, author of Sookie Stackhouse novels and many more… her main characters are all obviously set apart from normal society for one reason or the other… and most are a little bit damaged… they even kind of look alike, now that I think about it… but each of her stories are so varied that I know each character distinctly from the other…

Edgar Rice Burroughs (you knew it was coming) main characters were almost identical… right down to their grey eyes… but still had those little pieces that made them unique… and is it really that bad to want your main guy to be loyal, courageous, kind, and a bit of a ladies man (though they only want the woman they love)…

I understand that you don’t want a clone army of characters… and little exercises like the one in that group is a good way to break from the norm and try something new… it was a nice challenge that I enjoyed trying to meet… but I think in the end you can’t help but pour a piece of yourself into your characters… not necessarily who you are… I mean if I got faced with a zombie horde coming my way I would wet my pants and run… yes zombie stories are coming soon… but perhaps what you hope for people, or what you worry about… and I don’t see that as necessarily being a bad thing…

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