14 February 2009

101 Ways to Love Your Characters: the Darkyn

Yes, it's me again with yet another entry for the Character Clinic! I feel like I'm being totally obnoxious posting this much. Oh, well. :)

This post is another in honor of Joely and her fabulous idea, because it was she who introduced me to all the wonderful characters in Lynn Veihl's Darkyn series. She held a contest, see, and I won a copy of Twilight Fall. Yaay! Winning is good, but being introduced to a fabulous series of books you never knew existed is even better. I liked them so much, I went out and bought them all, and now I am merrily foisting them on everyone I know. :D

Anyway - the characters are what make this series so interesting and keeps me coming back. (That and the writing is really, really excellent, which pleases the editor side of my brain no end and is probably a topic for a whole other post, but whatever.) The characters are memorable, because they are so vividly portrayed -- each one has a very distinct personality.

More to the point of my post, however, is that they stay very much "in character" when they react to each other. This is one of my biggest pet peeves as a reader. Stories I end up not liking are stories in which characters have sudden and inexplicable personality changes. I get really pissed off when characters that are dark and sardonic one minute become sweet and sappy the next for no apparent reason -- other than the author needs them to for the plot to progress. This is something I learned ages and ages ago in high school acting classes and it was drilled into me by one of my favorite teachers of all time. It comes down to this: KNOW YOUR CHARACTER'S MOTIVATION. Every single second you are on stage. Every single page, paragraph and sentence of your story. In other words, KNOW WHY your characters are doing what they're doing. More importantly, however, make sure your reader knows why. Don't assume I'll follow a sudden personality shift, if you've given me no reason for it. Make it plain, make it easy to see. Otherwise, I'll put your book down mid-way through and not pick it up ever again. Lynn Veihl's Darkyn characters never violate this rule, and that's what keeps me coming back.

Some of my favorite characters are below:

Alex. Alex was, before being made into a vampire, a surgeon, a really, really good one. Her basic motivation is to "un-make" herself and go back to being human. Everything she does in the stories is based on this and she never deviates from this basic premise. She also a sarcastic, sharp-tongued, in-your-face modern woman, and she never lets the medieval-minded vampires change that, not even the one she loves.

Jayr and Aiden. The story of these two characters is told in Evermore, probably my favorite book in the series. Jayr, I like because she reminds me of me - reserved on the outside, on fire on the inside, but she'll never let anyone see it, especially not Aiden, the vampire she's loved in silence for 700 years. Aiden loves her, of course, but for his own reasons can't say anything either. Throughout the story they keep coming close to getting together, but it keeps going wrong -- for reasons that you understand completely as a reader because each time, what keeps them apart is based on their own basic motivations.



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3 comments:

soleilnoir said...

You have nothing to worry about. I have nine posts to get out between today and tomorrow-THAT'S being obnoxious. *g*

I've been dying to get the books from this series for awhile now. You just made it worse. ;) Thanks Bethanie!

Bethanie said...

Hee, hee - always happy to aid and abet! :) They're worth the price!

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