Message to my girl – writing characters

While I can’t actually promise no more empty self posession, and she would laugh at me if I did, I can convey the sentiment. 

My work in progress has a character called the BSW or Beautiful Sunny Woman.  She is the easiest and hardest character to write.  While the protagonist, Finn, started as an autobiographical construct, he quickly became his own character with his own voice.  At this point, I do not control him.  I just try to manage his words.  The BSW, though, remains based on an oh so real person, and writing that truthfully is sometimes effortless and sometimes so difficult.

The real life beautiful sunny woman has called the character a simp.  The character happens to be the only one in the novel who isn’t fucked up.  I threaten to make the character a crack addict whore, but I couldn’t even if I really wanted. 

The BSW character is steadfast and stalwart.  She solves problems.  She talks to plants and adopts animals.  She swears like a longshoreman while driving but stops in traffic to take an inchworm off her windshield and gently place him on a leaf.  She handles so many of the problems that Finn is incapable of.  She likes cheesy sci fi television and runs her own successful business.  She is a mixture of whimsy, pragmatism, intelligence, blind loyalty, harsh judgement and a consuming beauty of soul.

I know this character so well that I do not need pictures or songs or any props to write her.  Yet, the challenge is rightfully rendering a character out of such a rich source.

So, this is a message to my girl.  She’ll cringe at that 🙂  I do not have the talent to really write you.  Still, I’ve created a character of depth and complexity from your shadow.  You are my beautiful sunny woman, and it is okay that I can only give my protagonist a reflection of you.

I’ll keep the real thing for myself and cherish how lucky I am.

I’m Darren, and I write.

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3 Responses to Message to my girl – writing characters

  1. I’m also from the school of uncontrollable characters (in the sense they take me where they want to go). Some writers opt for absolute control and do it well. I think we all write characters based on people we know (at some point) … I find it most difficult basing one too much on the actual person and tend to get stuck fast. But isn’t it great to go through all this twisting and turning with characters? Your BSW sounds very intriguing (especially the inch-worm–longshoreman dichotomy). Great stuff, as always, Darren.

  2. Suzi says:

    she sounds like a perfect muse!

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