Thursday, February 13, 2014

Do You Have a Favorite Character?

                I’ve covered a lot of topics with my journey through the writing of The Zealot. I like to think I have shown you thirty different ways I have been a moron, twenty different ways I was a horrible writer initially, and ten different ways I was a jerk to my fellow writers.  Now I wish to cover something we all share; we all have a favorite character in a story or novel.

                You and I both know the feeling.  When you are in a scene with this person, you melt away; you disappear into the zone with this character and the words flow without thought.  You become this person.  For me, it is a young man with blonde hair.  He is a gentle sort normally, but something set him off.  He is a very religious man that ends up becoming a serial killer.  I won’t give him away to all of you, but he is both a nice guy and a brutal, dark, vicious killer, very much like Dexter.

                Where did this guy come from?  How is he unique from other serial killers?  Why in the world am I so into him?  Do you have someone like him in your mind or in your stories or novels? Maybe not so intense, but I bet you have someone you get deep into their personality when you write.  I bet you get lost into them when you write like I do when I write about him.

                For me, I have been fascinated by the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) of the FBI for a long time and have read many books by the founders of the unit.  I have also read many books about famous serial killers.  I find the minds of serial killers fascinating, but I am more intrigued by the men and women who chase them.  I love the psychology involved in all of it.

                I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers.  I have found that the reader almost always follows the detectives POV through the novel as they chase the killer.  You never “see” the killer until the end of the book, then it is surprise, here he is.  I wanted to do something different.  My killer, as I said, was a good guy.  He was killing drug dealers.  He had a reason.  My novel is different in that about 50% of the time is spent in the POV of the killer himself.  We see and feel things from his perspective.  The rest of the novel is split between the detectives and the female reporter.  I think, from the group critiquing the novel, having the killer in so much of the novel this way is powerful and has made this a unique novel of this genre.  Time will tell.

                As far as the darkness of the individual, like all characters, they come from us.  If you have been reading all my posts, you know of my past with pain.  As with all of us, we have different sides to our personalities.  With me, during the years of pain, my sides were more drastic.  My dark side was very dark.  I could reach inside myself and see this guy easily and relate to this individual.  The anger I dealt with each day was something I could easily move to my fingers and to keys on a computer.  Piece of cake.  Writing this character was easy for me in so many ways and therapy as well. 

                How deep do you get into your writing?  How lost in your story and your characters do you get?  I know I am not unique, but with this killer, I was so into the writing of this guy that in many scenes with other characters, such as with the female reporter, I would be so into it, tears would be flowing as I wrote.    There were other times when tears would flow from sheer anger as he lashed out in incredible terror as he killed in ways I will not tell you here.

                I’m a hard guy with a soft inside.  My biggest weakness is that I don’t treat ALL characters the same as I treat my favorite character.               

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