Thursday, November 09, 2006
Some writers need to see the character before they can bring them to life.
Others, like me, have an overall picture. I need to know what makes that person tick, what the central nub of their character is.
But that changes. Someone who thinks they need privacy above anything else might find it hard to share with someone, something essential for a romance. So the central facet of their character will fight against what they need, until they come to terms with it. By the end of the story that is replaced by something else, and another central characteristic is there, perhaps, hopefully, love.
A face is helpful, but I don't always need it, because I can see the character in my mind. Sometimes, that chimes with something in real life. who knows what influences what?
For the book I've just turned in, RUBIES OF FIRE, the third Department 57 book, it was Pierce Brosnan, but I didn't have him or any of his characters in mind when I wrote. He was just the type, the suave, efficient secret agent, thrown for a loop when someone he suspects proves to be something he doesn't expect. I never use that device some writers use, of referring to the actor or someone else, as a quick description of my character because I feel that's cheating in a weird way. So you won't find any descriptions of Pierce in the book, unless there's one once the character is well established in my own right!
And sometimes the character comes completely out of my imagination, and appears on the page, fully formed. Like Aidan, the hero of WILDFIRE, or Richard Strang, of the Richard and Rose books. Aidan was just there, waist-length flaming red hair (not auburn, red, think scarlet), kind, longish face, and amber eyes, with a passion for music and natural justice. His music is easier to define - think Page, Clapton, a classic rock style with a power hand and a grunge edge.
Or join me today on the Triskelion loops for Music Day, if you have time. A fun day based on Desert Island Disks, a program where the question "If you are stranded on a desert island for the rest of your life, which 8 records would you take with you?"
See you there1