I hope you enjoyed all of the character interviews this week. Some characters are charismatic enough that they are excellent interview candidates, however that doesn’t necessarily mean they are a writer’s favorite. If you had to pick your favorite character of all time, how hard would that be? Nearly impossible, right? Well, imagine how difficult it was for our Confabulators to pick their favorite character that they had actually created. All of our characters are our children, and it’s so hard to pick a favorite.
I based a character whom I named Rita (or renamed only slightly) after one of my renters. She was a walking fireplug of rather limited mental capacity, so in the story I had to smarten her up a bit. I definitely took advantage of her by bouncing her around the story, getting her raped to have an illegitimate son, etc. But in the story she shaped up and became the guardian angel of the main character. (In real life, she left owing me a bit of the last month’s rent, but that’s another story!)
There’s a bit of a difference between my favorite character and the character I had the most fun writing. I think Shane, the character I interviewed this week, is my favorite. He’s loosely based on an old friend combined with every barista in Lawrence and I love him to death. The most entertaining character to write, however, was my serial killer who slayed demons.
My favorite character is always the next one. I don’t get too emotionally attached to characters (I kill so many), and I generally have more fun writing the bad guys than the good guys. I really enjoyed writing “Denny” from my fairly recent short story “Patchwork.” You never find out his real name, and he is nothing like me, but when I wrote the story I fell in love with his voice. He ranks among the strongest voices I have ever written.
Bartholomew Benson was probably my best character, albeit my least favorite. He’s a bastard, he’s likely crazy, and he takes the idea of the ends justifying the means to a ridiculous point. Still, great character that was fun to write and interesting to read.
Although I often write about heroes, I have the most fun writing villains. It’s not that I like being the bad guy. On the contrary, I like finding reasonable motivations for characters to do bad things. I believe the majority of people doing wrong are doing it for good reasons. It makes them more interesting than characters who are just evil. Right now, my favorite is Sister Grimm, a character in my current work in progress. She’s as demented as they get, but it’s because her life has been filled with tragedy.