15 February 2009

101 Ways to Love Your Characters: Characters by Collision

OK, like I said several posts previous, yapping about how great my own characters are gives me the willies. But in the spirit of CC101, I will do it anyway. :D OK, I'm not really going to talk about how great they are, but I will tell you the story of how two of my characters came to be.

First, let me introduce Fenn and Kesera, the two main characters from my very own Novel #1 (of spaghettified plot fame...). Fenn is Prince Charming with a tragic past and a drug problem. Kesera is a bi-racial damsel causing distress (to pretty much everyone around her). I like them a lot. They are very patient with me, thankfully, so perhaps someday, when I become capable of plotting my way out of wet paper bag, I will manage to get their story told. :)


The story of the way they came about as characters is sort of interesting (at least I think so), so I thought I'd share it. It goes like this:

I saw this movie, King Arthur, which I absolutely hated almost every minute of (despite the fact that Clive Owen is in it). Leaving aside the idiotic idea that Arthur was actually from the Russian steppes (don't mess with my legends, maaan!), the reason I hated the movie so much is because I never felt that any of the main characters really had anything at stake. OK, sure, according to the plot, they were supposed to, so maybe it was just that the acting wasn't remotely convincing. Whatever. In my opinion, there was nothing worth seeing in that movie. Save one thing.

Now - I made a point of saying I hated almost every minute of that movie. The minutes I did not hate, had him in them:

Only he looked like this:

The actor's name is Til Schweiger and in that awful movie he played Cynric, the son of the invading bad guy. Cynric's story was the only one I cared about in that movie; he was the only one who had anything at stake -- he wanted his father to respect him. His father wouldn't give him the time of day.

None of which matters, because it wasn't his story that stayed with me, but his face. And his outfit. And that braided beard. And the look of despair he had when he finally gave up on his dad.

A few weeks later I saw one of the Tomb Raider movies, the one with the mountain in Africa and the well of life or whatever it was. I don't remember. What I do remember is the guy who played Lara Croft's almost lover, specifically I remember his accent. I think it might have been Scottish.

Anyway, soon after seeing that movie, the accent collided with the face, outfit, braided beard, and look of despair. Next thing I knew, there was Fenn. Glaring at me, all silent and deadly-like. From the deck of a ship headed south, a direction in which he did not want to go.

I had no idea why. I had no idea who he was or what the hell he thought he was doing in my head.

But when I asked him, he told me.

And thus was Kesera born.

Fenn didn't describe her or anything -- he had never seen her himself -- but he told me where she was and when I poked around in her castle, there she was. Also glaring, also kinda deadly-like.

I don't remember now whether her appearance came from a movie -- her hair may well have been inspired by Lara Croft's -- but I know her eyes are exactly like my friend Megan's (bright jewel-blue; in the right light, they almost seem to glow). The rest of her came from a song called The Gypsy Rover. As sung by the Wiggles. (Yes, those Wiggles. Of "Fruit Salad, Yummy, Yummy" fame...)

So - that's the story of Fenn and Kesera and how they came to be. And, yes, most of my major characters sort of "appear" like that -- all dressed up and itching to tell me where they want to go. They are usually made up of bits and pieces of other things I've seen or heard that have run into each other in my brain and melded together to make something new. I guess it's an odd way to come up with characters, but I'm one of those "visual learner" people, so maybe that's the best way for them to get my attention. lol! :D



Anonymous said...

Third time's the charm:

*gg* I really like the sound of Fenn and Kesera, great post Bethanie! Thank you for taking a step outside your comfort zone and embracing the character love-including your own ;)

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