Monday, May 28, 2012

Creating Characters to Suit Your Needs...or Wants

First, let me start off by saying, Happy Memorial Day. May this day find you spending happy times with family and friends, as well as those quiet moments of remembrance, in honor of those who gave their all for our country.

Now then, I want to talk today about character creation. But I'm not talking about whether to call a character Joe or Susie, and planning if he works in an office and she at a dairy farm. Unless the cows were robotic and she was from the planet Zorlonian and he time traveled from the 5th century because of a prophecy... Yeah, that kind of characterization. The kind we as writers: Completely. Make. Up. Fictional. Not your ordinary Dick and Jane. The fun stuff. At least, I think it's fun. 

This is part of the artistic license we as writers can indulge. You want a superhero who can melt gold? Got it. You need a villain who is half alien? Done. You see your heroine as only partially visible? A writer will make it happen. 

In my upcoming release, Bad Gone Better, I indulged a great deal in my character's creation. The hero, Gunner, is a Doppelganger, so I had a set of rules - some researched, some created - to go by. Does he have a soul? Does he have any humanity? Where do Doppelgangers live? When they cross the line (and just what is that line), what serves as punishment? Every time I came up with one answer, another question evolved that I could wrangle and ponder until I melded the rules to just the way I wanted them.

Flip the page. The heroine is Melanie. Because of my rules set for Doppelgangers, she couldn't be human, so, what could she be? I admit, I had a very fun time creating her. I knew what I wanted from her, but it took me awhile to pinpoint the name of her...being. Then it hit me. I researched, found out interesting information, added some of my own rules (insert artistic license here), and voila: a Wraith was born. Er, created. That's right. A tattered cloaked, soul-stealing, terror inducing Wraith. Ah man, I love her.

After these details were settled, the love story simply fell upon the pages of the book. I'll admit, the story is dark in places, it's sexy in others, but it's a story that I knew had to be written; especially with some of the most unconventional characters. To put any other being in their places simply would have been - a completely different story.    

What about you? Have you gone out of your way to create that perfect character to suit the needs of your story? Or what about the other way around - created the perfect story to go with the awesome character you made up? I do want to know. 

This Friday, Bad Gone Better will have it's release at Changeling Press. While you ponder my question, here's a little bit to tease...

Bad Gone Better
Doppelganger Tales: 2

A Doppelganger and a Wraith. Hell couldn't make a better match. Too bad they're not in Hell...

Gunner is ready to give up on life. Imprisoned for eternity is not how he'd envisioned returning to the Doppelganger realm. He's been pushed, punished and tortured, but nothing has been able to break him. Until she comes on a three-moon night.

Melanie is a Wraith seeking revenge. She hadn't planned on tangling with Gunner, but he provides what she needs to survive.

Begging for an end, Gunner is startled when the strange Doppelganger king offers freedom, but it comes with a price.

As Melanie searches for her killer and Gunner works toward his freedom, will they discover their paths are heading in the same direction? And is this direction toward something better, or toward the void of darkness neither can seem to elude?

(Edited) Excerpt: 
Melanie cocked her head, completely puzzled. "Thomas told me you'd help me seek the Doppelganger Svinchen. I would let you go and you would aid me, or your human twin would have to take your place."

His eyes went large, but she didn't have time for indecision or lies.

"Fine. I'll tell Thomas you refused. I will be back for sustenance, but otherwise I'll leave you be."

She blew her breath downward and lifted herself up. Might as well leave the same way she came in.

"Wait. Hold on," he called. She stared at him, but didn't stop her slow ascent. 

"Damn it, I said wait."

"What purpose would it serve me to wait? I don't have time for games, Gunner."

"No games. I promise." He closed his eyes as if in pain. "Come back here. I'll... I'll help you. I gave my word."

She hesitated. Throughout the realms, it was common knowledge that a Doppelganger's word could never be trusted, but all she'd seen of this man, all Thomas had revealed about him, showed that his humanity overwhelmed his natural desire for chaos.

She returned to the ground.... "Fine," she told him. "I'll free you to help me. When I've had my vengeance on Svinchen, I'll escort you back to Thomas, and he'll grant you whatever you agreed upon."

His shoulders grew stiff as though he didn't want to speak. "Agreed."

"But know this, Doppelganger Gunner." She moved close to him. "Cross me, upset me, disagree with me one time, and I'll remove all your humanity. In a very thorough, painful way." Her voice rose slightly with the last sentence, enough to make him shake his head and squeeze his eyes shut.

"I've given you my word. I won't back down." 

Have a Happy Monday, and Memorial Day ~ Ayla

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