Yes, all of them, even the villains. I figure that's okay since they are fictional, plus God tells us to love our enemies, right?
This week, the shopkeepers in the Writer's Alley have given you a sneak peek at their beloved characters and what makes them unique.
See, the thing with characters is this: They are the ultimate oxymoron.
We need unique characters that stand out and are not cliche, including hero's women can swoon over, heroines we can cheer for, and villains we can throw darts at.
However, we also need characters that are believable and relatable.
My friends... sometimes that is HARD. And I'd even argue, almost impossible. There is always going to be that reader who says, "That character is crazy, I totally can not relate to him/her." About that same character, someone else might say, "I LOVE THAT CHARACTER! That is so totally me!" And yet another reader will say, "Ugh! Been there, read that, *yawn*"
Knowing that the ultimate goal of pleasing everyone is impossible, we do the next best thing. We create characters with:
- Dynamic Back-story (that you don't tell in the first 30 pages of course!) and
- We give them characteristics that set them apart.
- If not everyone gets or likes them, well, tough:-)
On top of showing you their picture, I'm also giving your a brief view of who they are what makes them tick, i.e., what makes them, IMHO, unique.
Madison (Maddie): Maddie is one of my favorite characters. She's dynamic and has a ton of spunk, but underneath, she's an emotional girl who wants to please people. She does nothing partway. Her past was not so grand. She was a foster-child teen who found power, control, and a sense of belonging with guys. All that was shattered when she shacked up with a bad boy her senior year and ended up beaten and emotionally destroyed. She swore off men forever, but made an exception when she found Jesus via her teacher in cosmetology school. Fast forward six months: She takes her first hair-cutting job in the small town of Sandwich, IL in hopes of building a home and getting custody of her little brother who is still in foster-care. Her first customer is irritable, career-driven, Rueben.
My FAVORITE thing about Maddie is her relationship with God. She made a pack with God: If He would be real and honest with her, she'd be real and honest back. I love her newbie Christian passion and spunk, and her honest relationship with her Savior. I've learned a ton from Maddie about loving God beyond the restraints of religious jargon that, as a girl who grew up in the church, I've become used to.
Rueben: Ah, Rueben. Rueben, Rueben, Rueben. He's engaged to his high-school sweetheart, Olivia, but their relationship is ten years old and has become more of a habit than anything. He is 100% dedicated to his career, restaurant owner of The Sandwich Shop in Sandwich, IL, and fulfilling his father's dream and dying wish: Growing the Shop into a national chain. Rueben is passionate about his dream, but tends to let his work override his personal life and get in the way of his relationships. He also can be a wee bit too prideful. So when a snarky, new hairdresser snips a whopping 4 inches off the front of his hair in error on a morning when everything has gone wrong anyway, he's ticked.
Rueben isn't full of faults only though. When he is passionate about something, he gives it his all. He loves big and protects fiercely. He's been a Christian since he was young, but has a hard time letting go of the reigns in his life and giving God complete control. Sound familiar? It does to me!!!
Olivia: And then there was a villain ... Olivia is a conniving not-very-nice girl. I use Jessica S.'s not because I think she looks villainous but because Livy is an A-typical man's dream: Curly blond hair and ultra-curvy body. She knows it and takes advantage of her looks at every turn. But, she too has a story. She lives with her single-mother and has never known her father who split when she was very young. Her mother is, to say the least, bitter against all humans with XY chromosomes. She pounded into Livy's head from a young age: men only one two things, beer and sex.
Livy has been in love with Rueben for years, but Rueben has always put his career in front of her, which has causes her to be bitter and jealous and yield to her mother's influence. She'll stop at nothing to keep her man's eyes on her instead of the irritating new-comer.
This is a hard story for me to write, as it touches some touchy issues (aka Maddie's floozy history and Livy's penchant for using her body as a tempting device) but I wanted to show that 1.) God redeems us all, no matter our history and 2.) Looks aren't everything. But then that goes into a whole other blog post: Themes!
So, anyone care to share what makes YOUR characters unique?