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Story Garden | What Happens When You Love (Or Despise) Your Characters For Not Being Like You?

October 8, 2012


From Trish Jensen: My book that came out in September, AGAINST HIS WILL, featured a man who had no use for dogs. Or any animals, for that matter. I couldn’t stand my own hero for a long, long time because I’m an animal freak, and he wasn’t. The only thing that kept me going (and not bonking him over the head with a baseball bat) was that I absolutely knew the heroine would change his mind, and he’d end up loving that dang Bulldog he’d inherited against his will. I also knew he’d never abuse the dog even if he hated being the new unwilling human, because he’d be dead. (The hero, not the dog.)

Well, he actually obeyed me, which most of my characters end up not doing. He fell in love with his dog. So I love him even more today than I did when I finished this story.

But that was just a prelim to what I’m talking about here. In my next release, FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL… I’ve recognized that neither of those characters are me, either. Sherry doesn’t let anything get her down. Well, she can get very, very ticked on occasion, and loves creative revenge, but for the most part the thing the hero hates about her most is that she’s always upbeat. She’s always at the ready to come up with a solution to a problem in a snap. That is SO not me. If I don’t meet my page deadline any given day I mope, a yell at myself and want to punish me. She doesn’t. Sherry’s sunny disposition and, “Well, how about if we do this instead?” attitude infuriates the hero. Until it ultimately melts him. I’m also not that hero, Christian “Kit” Fleming. He’s good at everything. He’s used to getting results. But he’s basically miserable inside, even though he doesn’t even recognize that in himself until cheery Sherry comes along. And it’s not a happy road as they learn to understand each other.

And yet, these two characters aren’t anything like me. I think I’m somewhere in the middle. So maybe my joy in writing this book as that I made them each give a little and meet in the middle. Like where I’d be.

The bottom line is writing a character whose internal makeup looks nothing like your own. But you created the situation, the characters, and now you have to live with them, even when they try to take control. And oh, do they try to take control. But I know where the delete button is located, and they don’t.

It’s always interesting to write outside of your comfort zone and your core beliefs. You never know what you’ll discover about your characters, and even yourself. In FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL… Sherry taught me to have a more positive outlook. Kit, unfortunately didn’t teach me how to be a CEO by age 35, but he sure taught me more discipline in order to achieve my goals. I love them both for that.

Trish is offering either a future book (e-version or print) of FOR A GOOD TIME CALL… when it’s released, or a copy of AGAINST HIS WILL in either Nook or Kindle format to the winner.

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