Tag Archives: Character friends

#MFRWauthor If I know you…be prepared to be written about!

This week’s blog post may get me in a little hot water with some of my friends ( who may not be my friends anymore after reading this! heehee).

I will admit, most of the characters I write about are complete creations of my own. I’ve said I’m a people watcher and characteristic voyeur, and I am. I watch strangers all the time when I am out and about and then think up story lines for them that work their way into my writing.

But….

There are some people I personally know who have such defined characteristics, quirks, or ways of speaking that I just haven’t been able to NOT put  them in a story.

For instance: I have a friend who is a marathon runner. Obsessively a marathon runner. Some of  the things she does to train I attached to a character in one of my books who runs. I’m not gonna tell you which book or character, but I know my friend knows which it is because she nailed me on it. In a good way. She was actually flattered. Dodged a bullet on that one, folks!

I have a fringe acquaintance who is a real P.I.T.A. when it comes to always having the last word. No matter what subject we are discussing, what the context, or even if he/she knows nothing about it, he/she will always, ALWAYS need to have the last word. It’s almost pathological. I’ve written a character with that trait and you know what? The person didn’t even recognize themself when they read it. Pathetic.

I know a man who has the annoying habit of saying “yeah, huh?” after every sentence. It doesn’t even make sense in some usages, but he does it anyway. You know sure as the sun shines in Poughkeepsie I’m using that in a character. Soon, too!

I heard Jackie Collins give an interview once where the interviewer asked her where she got her inspiration for all her Hollywood heartthrobs and heroines. Jackie had always said she never based any of her characters on one specific person but an amalgam of people. In this interview she slipped and said, ‘The character based on Madonna–” she stopped herself from saying more, snapped her fingers, and then said, “Oh, fudge, I swore I was never gonna say that!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happens to us all.

Since this is a blog hop, head on over to the other authors participating to see how they deal with real people and the characters they create.

 

 

 

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The Power of Friends… in Literature

Where would Nancy Drew be without George Fayne? Where would Huck Finn have wound up without Tom Sawyer? Scarlett may have derided her, but Melanie Wilkes was her best friend hook, line,  sinker and soul. What about Elizabeth Bennett and Charlotte Lucas? Without Charlotte, Lizzy may just have wound up married to the horrible Mr Collins. Charlotte did her a solid by marrying the little worm. Harry Potter,  Ron Weasley and even Hermione,  were the best of ‘mates. And dear God, could we have had Sherlock Holmes without John Watson?

In my last post I talked about my friends and what having them in my life means to me. Literature is  chock-full of besties and we are all better for having shared in their friendships, albeit second  hand.

Friends in literature serve so many purposes aside from simply being  “a friend.” They are foils for one another’s characters; sounding boards for ideas, problems, and resolutions; cheerleaders and soul soothers, and best of all, the true  friend will always steer you in the right direction when you are going the wrong way, tell you if you have spinach in your teeth, and hold your hair back when you need to vomit. This last one is literally and theoretically!

My two favorite books of all time are Gone with The Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Both are rife with the beauty and detail of friendship. In both, the main characters of Dorothy and Scarlett need to find their way: home and in life. The TinMan, Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow all help Dorothy face trials, tests,  and tribulations in order to find her way back  to Kansas, to Auntie Em’s loving care, and to discover her heart’s desire. Scarlett is Melanie’s opposite in every way, except in their love for Ashley, and in  this opposition of character details, each woman brings out the best in the other. Despite what many historians have postulated, I really do think Scarlett’s road to redemption begins when she brings Melanie back to Tara after the birth of Beau. She risks her life to make sure they all get home safe and sound. Whether you believe it is for a selfish reason, such as ensuring Ashley knows Scarlett helped his wife, or  – like me – because deep down Scarlett was truly a good and loyal person, their relationship ( Scarlett and Melanie’s) is the strongest and most enduring in the novel.

When a writer creates friends, he/she needs to know what each friend brings to the relationship table. It’s simply not enough to have the main character have friends. They serve purposes, both positive and negative, and these purposes enrich the novel and the character’s quest. They play off one another, spark ideas between them, and – such as in the case of Holmes and Watson – better the lives of the people surrounding them. Ron and Hermione show Harry Potter that people do care about him -not because he is a wizard – but because he is a person with feelings and desires, just like they are. Sharing triumphs, failures, tears, and joy are just some of the emotions friends go through together.

Think about your favorites books. What are the friend relationships like? Is the book made better because of them?  What does each friend bring to the relationship table for the main character? When you write, think about these facets. Your book will be richer for it, and sound more true-to-life.

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