I can’t help but think my characters are people. Yes, I know, a lot of writers share the sentiment, but that same sense of having imaginary friends can also cripple us. Because once the voices are out of our heads and on the page, they can’t be Just People. They have to be bigger than that.
I’ve blogged before about my “Bathrooms on the Enterprise” need to see behind the curtain in all things, and this is one of those things. Characters aren’t people. They’re both more and less. People can be lazy and complacent. Now before you click off and think I’m talking about you because of course I’m not because you have kept at all your fitness goals, never let a task slide, and are constantly stretching yourself to new places of discomfort in your thought processes, right? Yeah, me neither.
Characters can’t be. Even when they are lazy and complacent, they are lazy and complacent to an epic degree. The garden-variety, knock off on the couch for a day or two just reading books lazy just won’t cut it in a story. Nobody wants to spend quality lazy time reading books about characters being lazy on the couch reading books. No. They want to be lazy on the couch and read about a guy who was SO LAZY, he didn’t get off the couch for THREE YEARS and a colony of sentient bacteria grew on his chest and developed a culture that worshipped Cheetos crumbs and sent out little bacterial adventurers to investigate the crevasses of the couch cushions and discovered a bug-sized Balrog living on a sticky penny.
There’s epic in the ordinary, and as a writer, it’s my job to find it and express it through my characters. That means even if my characters are ordinary, they have to be epic about it. They don’t have downtime. Characters don’t let daily minutiae consume them…or even hold their attention. They don’t have “off-screen” lives of note. All the exciting things are happening “on-screen.” So it’s my job to make that on-screen time worth reading about.
I write about quirky people finding their own crazy paths to happily ever after. My short contemporary romantic comedy, Forever Material, is about a Dating Diva whose own rules fly out the window when she meets the right kind of Mr. Wrong.
She’s absolutely sure he’s not the marrying kind…
He’s absolutely sure she’s right…
But he’s still going to prove her wrong.