She struts into the room with an air of confidence that cannot be beat. Her smile rivals the sun and some might say her mannerisms are at times somewhat exaggerated.
She can’t help it. It’s just her way.
The other day an elderly woman struggled with the door to a cafe. Our heroine bound up from her seat in a mad dash to offer her assistance. In the course of her efforts, however, she managed to upset another patron’s drink and knock a plant over.
Ah, yes, the eccentric blonde. Always so willing, not always so able.
Of course she purchased a drink for the person whose drink she had maligned. He turned out to be quite fetching in appearance, so she offered her phone number as well. Never know, there just might be a stain on those pants that she would be happy to remove.
He was of course enraptured by her golly gee good nature and assured her that he would indeed take his pants off for her should the need arise.
And the plant? Amazing what a little duct tape will do.’
The eccentric blonde is a character I created about twenty-five years ago, if not longer. I took a creative writing class and one of the assignments was to come up with a character that could be used in a variety of scenes and settings.
And this was the birth of a character who has indeed endured the test of time. I have written some really silly scenes such as the one noted above. The premise of the character is her well meaning and somewhat clueless personality. No matter how much she screws up, no one ever gets angry or upset with her.
The creation of this character also allowed me to try my hand writing light, comedic sketches.
I’ve been thinking about the confidence lately and oddly enough the eccentric blonde character popped into my head. Confidence is an attribute she always possessed. There is no ‘wrong’ in her world. Everything always works out for her and she expects nothing less.
I wonder if the characters I create hold some ideals that I would like to exhibit? Perhaps its just a way to emote various expressions. I enjoy how characters come to life in my mind’s eye. Quite often it occurs from simply seeing someone on the street. They may come across as being removed from their surroundings. They may be someone of high energy. It could just be the way they walk, the fluidity of it or even an awkward gait.
Once cataloged, when I have an idea that flashes in my head for a story, this bank of characters and their mannerisms that is tucked away in my grey matter is accessed and one of them is brought to life. Sometimes it evolves into a first chapter with the basic story line posted in point form to come back to at a later date. More often though, the character is shelved as the idea doesn’t merit further development at the time.
When I think of guys like Steven King and the genre that he writes in, I wonder how he develops his characters and where they come from. I don’t think I could ever write horror novels on a consistent basis. It would be a very dark a place to have go to and ‘create’ on a daily basis. I can see the interest in wanting to explore the depths of human depravity and our ill-begotten ways. There is s an odd fascination with the dark side to humanity.
I do have disturbing characters tucked away that shall otherwise remain nameless but will likely turn up as a foil or the end to a tragic means in a book waiting to be written.
Writing gives us license to do just that. We create stories and explore the outcome for our characters. Impossible odds are meted out in circumstances that are nothing less than extraordinary.
We flock to movie theatres to watch Godzilla trample a City such as San Francisco. I’ve been watching these movies since I was a kid and I’ve forgotten why he is so pissed off and for reasons I can’t explain, I have always felt sorry for the big guy.
Then again if you’ve been blown up, set on fire, shot at, etc. as many times as he has then you’d probably have a chip on your shoulder as well.
We have the action hero movies where one guy saves the world and always quite selflessly. And sometimes I’ll think, what if they changed the ending and our hero didn’t save the day or what if he died in order to be successful? I do get tired of cliched endings that have a happily-ever-after tone to them.
Then we have superheros. Would we really embrace a guy in tights and a cape who could fly? Somehow I think if I saw a guy spinning a web from his arms and swinging down main street I may just call the authorities.
These movies always have the ultimate evil to offset the ultimate good. Of course ultimate good wins out every time.
I have a few characters that I’ve created over the years. Some are timeless such as the Eccentric Blonde. I can take that character and put her into anything and make it work. Other characters are on the shelf waiting to be dusted off and featured in a story at some point.
I would love to hear how other writer’s develop their characters. What’s your inspiration? Also, I would love to hear from everyone on what some of your favourite characters are and why?
For example, now that “Lord of the Rings” has been made into a movie will we always think of Frodo as he was cast by Peter Jackson?
The movie is one man’s vision of the book. When I read the book years before the characters spun in my mind’s eye were very different from Peter’s.
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