Friday, November 13, 2009

Taming the shrew

If we've learned anything from the immortal bard, it's that everyone loves the hated character. We all come to love the prickly, irascible shrew. In the end, we all hope for redemption, growth and a happy ending for the most unusual characters, were that not the case, then Dickens's Christmas Carol would never have reached such towering acclaim. Nor would America's favorite bigot, Archie Bunker, the man everyone loved to hate.

With all of this in mind, I try to flaw my characters either physically, emotionally or psychologically. There needs to be room to grow and improve, room for the reader to take a liking but also fall in love as well as the hero, too. All a part of "keepin' it real" because what could be more real than having flaws?

It's harder to embrace a cranky heroine notably when you are in a good mood - even more difficult, it's harder to put yourself in the mind of one who is truly alien, a chimera in every aspect, if you will, such as the character Havoc, in my science fiction trilogy. Havoc is the end result of hundreds of years of careful select breeding with few added layers of genetic manipulation resulting in "dogs". Why are they called dogs? The lead scientist had a warped sense of humor and an utter disdain for religion. Just as man was made in God's image, these new human were made in "dog's". Only once the military application of their training kicked in, did one older, sadly poetic man quietly recited, "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war, that this foul deed shall smell above the earth with carrion men, groaning for burial." as the dogs were unleashed on the warring factions of an Earth gone mad... But that event is in the past, many years before Havoc's birth. Her penultimate ancestress was hard enough to identify with, being only just human, it was very much like dealing with Saka Ishkuzi from Festival of Lights, but Havoc, she's so alien it gives me shivers to walk in her skin for an afternoon.

Hopefully, in the end, it will be all the more worth it.

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