Sunday, May 6, 2012

Creating Characters


I’m often asked how I create my characters. At last count I have somewhat in the neighborhood of seventy-five to eighty relatively strong characters. By strong, I mean these characters actually have back stories and personalities that come across on the page. Some are absolutely terrifying, like Cody Larson in FROSTPROOF and Tommy Fielding in DEGENERATES. Some are adventurous, like Tim Madison in SILENT INVASION, and Jamie Richards in DREAM TRAVELER, and some are tragic, yet beautiful, like Nathan Cruz and Miriam Kanter in DROP OUT. All of my characters have one thing in common. They are not modeled after any single person. You see, my characters are a conglomeration of people I’ve known and associated with over the course of my life. I can’t say that one certain character has more of someone than another character. This always seems to perplex my friends and associates who often tell me this or that character is just like them. It seams most people are hoping their personality will be immortalized in story form. I’ve even had an old girlfriend get angry with me because she thought the character Astor in DEGENERATES was too much like her. I had to assure her that Astor was NOT based on her, but on at least eight different people, most of whom I went to college with. When I write I transform and become my characters. I become the clairvoyant prostitute in PULP and the daring young man fighting an alien insect invasion in INSECTLAND. I immerse myself in that world and create the fantasy. It would be hard for me to pretend to be someone I know, if that makes any sense.