It’s impossible to please everyone – we all know that – but it is quite possible to please a broader band of individuals in the same way that a manufacturer of, say, chocolates can satisfy more people with a box of many flavors – People like variety, and writers, too, can offer up more than one flavor, more than one hero and more than one plotline, so, anyhoo, welcome to my assorted box of characters.
One of the reasons I run with a multitude of threads is that it allows for a range of characters to take lead, and different characters appeal to different people in different moods (hopefully a multitude of characters appeal to a multitude of readers).
That does not mean that every character gets to take lead, but there will always be a handful of them that do.
I love to get inside characters’ heads and I love to bring their inner being out for all to see. Whether it’s a villain you can understand and relate to (Sturn, Sevi), a villain you watch develop and feel for (Va’el – yes, wait for it, on the latter), gentle Good Guys (Raoul, Charlie, Morragt), tougher, let’s-get-at-you Good Guys (Jackie, Jim, Diego), comedians (Jim, Diego), sexy women (Sevi, Jackie), full on male-fantasy-girl (Sasha), kids with attitude (Mij, Va’el), or characters that take off on their own with force and determination (Sevi, Va’el), oh, and don’t forget the “something different” aliens (Thain, Tannik), I’ve pretty well got something for everyone.
No one is a rigid all the time, so I like to give my characters versatility also, each with a range of emotions and capabilities.
Jim and Diego tease Santayana (resident virgin and heart-throb) mercilessly, but they’re all business and professionally helpful when she is struggling to learn to shoot accurately.
Jackie is determined to succeed against the Bad Guys – partly as payback for Sturn’s treatment of her – but she also knows that she’s up against heavy odds with Sevi, so she has to make sure that Raoul and the team don’t get too gung-ho about it. Sevi, with her level of training and sophistication of weaponry, can kill them all very, very easily, but Jackie, with her own level of skill, is the only one who can fully appreciate the danger. So there’s a push-pull there.
Sevi was/is the most secretive of my characters for the simple reason of serenity. She is a major force to be reckoned with, yet it’s easy for others to misread her. Like a true professional soldier, she does not fly off at the handle but keeps calm and in control always. Getting her to “strut her stuff” and keep it professional was a major challenge for me as a writer (I couldn’t have it happen inside the villains’ camp, or her “getting professional” would have seen her take out the entire team of Bad Guys. Although I did play with that idea for a time, I ditched it when it brought up more problems than it solved – mainly lack of Bad Guys).
Not every character is a main character, of course, but there is a broad middle range of characters I nevertheless give depth to. I like stories to be three-dimensional, so that means no two-dimensional characters allowed. Even the least advanced characters – the ones right at the bottom and not even listed as secondary.
Such as Tim, a young naïve cop with his new uniform, his love of life and his first baby on the way.
Then there’s Graham in Martin’s Wait who tells wily tales in the local inn to get a free pint, but is careful not to give away any real secrets.
I also have Nails in Farr Ridge – Nails as in “Hammer and”, but “as tough as” also, with his wounded leg and his advice and his quiet appreciation. You know there’s more in there than just a guy at the truck bay complex.
I have a host of such characters, people you will only see once, maybe twice – minor characters that are more rounded in very brief little ways that just make a soul more real.
I do want to elevate Nails, however, he’s got something. I just haven’t worked a plot for him yet, but it will come. Farr Ridge is too good to lose, too. That’s a whole town with attitude. I mean what else do they get up to? It’s not a happy place.
Anyway, we all do these things as writers, it’s what makes our world fun and our books interesting, it’s what keeps us telling the tale and hunting out new ones. It’s the characters – big or small – that delight us and that make it all worthwhile.
Happy writing, everyone. Have a great day/evening, people.