Sometimes, in the days (months, years) of query letters (boy did I write a lot of them) I would worry about how to describe my own writing. It’s a fine art, trying to sell yourself, but there was one phrase I never failed to use: character driven.
I adore writing characters. It’s my absolute favorite part of being an author: the invention of new people and the revisiting of old friends. Some authors get annoyed when a story is hijacked by a minor character ~ I love it. I like caricatures that I can break down or twist suddenly into something unexpected. I like silly quirks and strange mannerisms, sinister aspects and hidden secrets. I draw pictures of my characters. I give them magazine quizzes. I invent elaborate back-stories that never make it onto the page.
This may have to do with the fact that I like people. In fact, I kind of collect them. My house tends to be the party event venue, the sleep-over spot, sometimes known as Grand Central Station. Mine is a life riddled with highly colorful characters. They have leaked into my stories, whether I like it or not.
As a side effect, I have this terrible habit of falling on love with my minor characters. I think a lot of writers have this happen to them. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love the hero and heroine too, but there is something so delightfully comfortable about a butler or best friend who slides in, quips something Wilde and witty, and then exits in a plume of verbal sophistication. They require so much less effort for so much more payout.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you read my books and fall in love with even just one character, I’ve done my job. You can hate everything else about the story, but that character will haunt you. He or she will get to live, for a little, in your mind. As a writer, I can think of no greater thing to have happen.
So I’m curious, if you have read my books, who’s your favorite character?
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Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Steampunk pinup girls.
Your Tisane of Smart:
NPR all about vampires. Why we like them, where they came from, and why now?
Your Writerly Tinctures:
I have a writer tip up today at Shelley Munro’s blog.
Quote of the Day:
“Writing fiction is a solitary occupation but not really a lonely one. The writer’s head is mobbed with characters, images and language.”
~ Hilma Wolitzer