I play favorites with my characters. And they share some things….

bookI’ve written before about how I have favorites among my characters. I think most writers do, and in most cases, that’s innocuous enough. It makes perfect sense that an author would connect on a deeper level with some characters than others. I always say that each character I write is a piece of me, displays some aspect of me, even though 99% of the time that’s completely unintentional. Well, I like some things about myself more than I like others.

Today being the final day of my promo of The Crimson League, I got to thinking about my favorite characters in that book and its sequels, and I’ve realized that my favorite characters aren’t my favorites by chance. They have a lot in common! Some things are more superficial, and others run deeper. It’s kind of surprising what threads I found connecting them:

  • Most of my favorite characters have to face big opposition. Powerful opposition. And they don’t shrink from standing up for themselves or for someone else, someone weaker. I really, really admire fortitude as a virtue–that kind of inner strength–because as much as I pray that in a difficult situation I would have the courage to act the way my characters do, I can’t be sure that’s the case. I’m a pretty timid person.
  • My favorite characters, to a large extent, don’t fall into the trap of considering themselves victims. Of pitying themselves. Though they could, they’re proactive instead. I could learn a LOT from them right now.
  • My favorite characters, by and large, are masters of themselves. They control their anger and their attractions, not the other way around.
  • Lastly, the vast majority of my favorite characters in my novels are sorcerers, or at least, they have some kind of magic power. That’s just cool, on the most basic of levels. I watched “Charmed” in high school and I love the Harry Potter books. Even cooler, I respect that my characters don’t abuse that power.

THE SAME, YET DIFFERENT

What’s interesting to me, as I write this, is to consider how despite these basic similarities, each character is still unique, just like real people. They share some things, but that doesn’t mean one isn’t subject to temptations that another would never feel attracted to. It doesn’t mean one isn’t more adventurous than another, or one isn’t noble-born and better educated than another. And sure, this is basic, but sometimes it’s the most basic things we tend to overlook: something to keep in mind as I continue to write about Herezoth and its citizens is the importance of not writing the same character over and over again; it’s the kind of thing that gets harder the more you write, especially if the books are connected to each other in a series. There should always be something substantial that sets each character apart.

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