Last Wednesday I had my fiction writers club meeting and we had our lecture of the month, a topic I absolutely love, characters.
Where I’m concerned, character trumps plot every time. It is the main character who you either fall in love with or hate with a passion. He or she is the antithesis of how the writer thinks, or wants to move the story to its logical conclusion.
Character, in other words, make the story possible. The writer can create a world that is fanciful, magical or practical. He has to sell the character as being believable and a living breathing part of that setting.
The characters drive the plot, devises plans and strategies, gets his revenge on the antagonist and is either a hero like Huck Finn, or a villain like Dracula. The character falls in love, develops relationships with other characters and defines who he or she is through their actions, dialogue or reaction.
The plot rarely drives the character because it becomes a boring text if done wrong. I never cared for Moby Dick or the later Michener novels because they lacked a solid and dynamic character I could relate to.
That is why when I developed the Mark Marteau character, I used several high school friends plus my best childhood friend to pull both positive and negative qualities from. The other characters, I hatched from my imagination for the most part, but always with an emphasis of believability and teaching Mark valuable life lessons.
This last book with Mark Marteau will be his swan song; his raison d’être (reason for being) before bidding him farewell.
I will then create a whole new series of books with new characters to create stories around. I have a science fiction book that I haven’t finished yet. Maybe I’ll start work on that.