Thursday, June 4, 2009

Katie Allen-Final Day


Day Three, and you're still with me? I am honored and grateful. For that, two hotties.

When I was once gainfully employed as an engineer, one of my male coworkers read my first book, Seeing Blind, and asked (with a smirk, of course. Guys can't read sex scenes, think of reading sex scenes or think about people writing sex scenes without smirking. It's like a biological reaction.) which of my real-life boyfriends inspired the character of Ty (hero and sheriff hottie). I blinked at him in confusion.

“None of them, of course,” I told him. “If he actually existed, I would've married him.”

Now it was his turn to be confused. If I didn't know Ty, how did I write him? I tried to explain that the characters are already in my head; I just have to get them down on paper. Something like that magazine article will trigger an idea, and then the character will pop out, pretty much fully formed. With Ty, his likes and dislikes, his good and bad traits, what made him laugh and what made him cry were already decided. What I had to figure out was how to bring him to life.
I think that, when I write a story, the hero is made up of thousands of snippets of other men--movie or book characters, acquaintances, friends and friends' boyfriends, and yes, even my former boyfriends. I take that man's temper and combine it with this man's sweetness, mix in a tiny bit of this other guy's sense of humor--all without realizing what I'm doing. Whatever the inspiration happens to be, it reaches into the dark, dusty corners of my brain and pulls out a character that I didn't even realize I was creating as I went about on the normal, boring, everyday business of life.

What this does is create a character that actually behaves like a human being. He reacts and talks and falls in love in a way that makes sense because he is made up in my brain from bits of real-life people. One of my favorite compliments to get from people is that my characters are true to life. I'm not trying to write deep, cerebral works of literature; I'm trying to write a good story with characters that resonate with readers. The way I do that is take everything--the parts and pieces of my characters, as well as the inspiration which pulls these imaginary people from my brain and plops them onto the computer screen--from the everyday and ordinary part of life. The down and dirty part. The real part. And that is what allows these characters to live.
Thanks for putting up with my babble (and I do like to babble)!

If you haven't had quite enough of me yet, you can check out my Website.


Carolyn Crane said...

I love this thoughtful post on creating a character. I bet your characters are great! I love a real feeling H/H.

I think also, when I hear authors discuss character stuff borrowed from the outside, that often the characters seem to have made it their own.

Tracy said...

Katie - thanks so much for being with us the past few days.

I really love how you make your characters true to life so whatever you're doing, keep doing it! :)

Katie Ruggle said...

Thank you so much for having me and for all the wonderful comments! It's great to be able to write about character development for an audience that really understands (and doesn't just stare at me with glazed-over eyes. Your eyes aren't glazed, are they? Just tell me no, and I'll be happy).

Happy reading and writing, everyone!!

Katie Ruggle said...

Oh, and an extra big thank you to Bridget for the invite and all of her help!

Bridget Locke said...

Katie-Thank you! You're a doll! I'm so glad you were able to visit it with us. :) Feel free to come by again and say HEY! :)

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