Roundtable Part II: Main Character Composition

Greetings everyone! The SASS here. I’m feeling high and it’s not because of Mary Jane. It’s about time for another round table and once again, I have the usual suspects. Let me reintroduce them, in case they slipped your mind from the last one.

Author Adonis Mann

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 Author Synful Desire

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Author C. Desert Rose

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Author Queen of Spades

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Author Y. Correa

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Plus, one more

Author D. John Watson

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and … um, yeah

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Me (see how I snuck the new logo in there?)
Yeah they convinced me!

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Here is the question this month:

What is the primary ingredient you use when coming up with your main character?

This time, I decided to do this based on who answered the question first. The lucky winner is … Synful Desire!

For me, the type of audience I want to attract plays a significant factor in the development of the main characters in an array of my short stories. I stress short stories because “Convoluted Prism” is a different animal.
 
For “Simmer Sweet”, I skewed a bit on the side of what was already out there. Kesha represented the slightly exaggerated role of the “butch” or “stud” while Teresa represented the woman who was in a relationship, yet every now and then, was curious about being with a woman. It’s the type of story you see often but just painted in different ways.
 
For “Handy”, I wanted literature that appealed to the every day woman that had a blend of romance, comedy, along with erotica. I designed Darbi as a woman that other women could relate to, minus the twist at the end of course.

For “Delectable Things”, I purposely presented Sabrina in a way to where one wasn’t sure whether they really liked her or was annoyed with her. She wants what she wants but she’s gone through some issues. Neither Sabrina or the supporting cast represented a woman that was cookie cutter. There was no true black or white, only a tumultuous amount of complexity. It’s “fantasy with real characters”, I like to call it. Hey that sounds like a blog post in itself, just not sure if I should (or will have time) to write it … chuckling to self.


Next to the plate is Queen of Spades.

The primary ingredient I use when developing my main character is “Life and the cards one is dealt”.

At my core, I’m a storyteller. Not the one that will take you on Harry Potter adventures but one that will say, “If you can sit a spell, I’d like to tell you a story.” Please don’t take this as salt to anyone who writes things on an epic level for I have great reverence for those who do this well. I just know, at my core, I’m not that type of writer, not do I desire to be.

For me, the situation, or conflict, appears first before the character. The character is molded based off the situation. How would that person react? What would the person say? How would the person say it? What are the mannerisms?

Then I sculpt other features, like the backdrop, for the backdrop determines dialogue and reactions in a huge way. A naive person from the Midwest, for example, isn’t going to behave like a street savvy person in Chicago. Also, dress will not be the same, depending on the location.For my first independently released short story, “Taint on Religion”, the conflict was: What does one do on the path to redemption when the past threatens to haunt you?

I set the stage as being a small town that has a very active church going community. The young lady Natasha suffered tragedy at an early age, which caused her to lose faith. When she hit rock bottom, she attempts to get her life back on track. I put an interesting bend in the tale that causes Natasha to make a choice, one that puts her acceptance in the community in jeopardy. As I progress in my story writing, although they may vary in length, the blueprint in character development stays the same.


Peeking in, Y. Correa. 

Imagination.

Nothing more and nothing less. Typically, I go into a story having an “idea” of what I  want my main character to be like. “Idea” being the operative word. Here is great example:

When writing “Earth 8-8-2: The Genesis Project” I knew I wanted the main character (Genesis) to be a hybrid of sorts. I wanted her to be a compilation of many things–a god. I even knew what I wanted those things to be.

However, once I dug into the story and set the platform for the premise (as is typical for me), Genesis took on a life all her own. As far as her mannerisms and personality, it was she that directed me.

It’s odd.

The creation of my main characters reminds me of birthing a child.

From somewhere deep inside one puts for the energy to birth an entity into this world. One lays down the foundation and puts forth the necessary work, however the persona of said entity is completely contingent on him/her. All, I have to do is push them out.

So, there isn’t necessarily a “primary ingredient” other than imagination.


Time to get a Mann in the building!

I am not the type to have any primary ingredient whatsoever when it comes to my main character. As a matter of fact, half the time I am starting a story, I don’t even know what it’s going to be about. I just start typing. It’s really hard to put into words. The best way I can explain it is by saying that I go into a story feeling a certain “vibe“. It could bit happiness, sadness, loneliness, thoughtfulness or what have you. I allow that vibe to do it’s talking through my fingers, low and behold a character is born. It’s as the my characters create themselves and all I have to do is speak for them.

I cannot remember a time when I’ve gone into a story thinking, “I want my character to be like this or like that.” The process has always more like “Wow, I feel like …” or “I’m thinking …” followed by an “I want to write.” Next thing I know a person is alive in my mind–vivid and powerful.


Let me get Rose‘s perspective.

Realism.

While my characters are strictly fictional, I find it imperative that they have an aspect of realism in them. This is important for reader connectivity. If the audience can connect to the character then you are doing your job right. One of the main ways that the audience connects with a character is through authenticity.

So my approach is to give each character a sense of imperfection and humanity, it is in that they become real to the audience. When I’ve done that just right, then I know that the story is or will be a success.


Newcomer to the table, D. John Watson

This is a very interesting question. I draw from people I know, I think that it’s important to take aspects of real people to make our characters as realistic as possible. For my main character of David, in the upcoming book, The Gatherer, I looked at my own son. At the time the book was being written, they were the same age so I had a lot of material to work with as far as the interests and attitude.


Now it’s my turn.

For my character’s primary ingredient, I always indulge in so DQ, and I don’t mean Dairy Queen. DQ represents “Darkness Quotient”. You see, I am a believer that even the purest well intending souls have the ability to do bad things but factors have to be in play to drive the character over the edge. I also like putting the reader in the quandary whether the level of darkness portrayed is something they might get behind or still be against, no matter what the circumstances.With “Vocal Remedy”‘s outcome, some people may think it was well deserved. Other people might have been so caught up in what Vaser and Mr. Choice’s relationship truly was that they didn’t know what to think about the ending.

In “Simi’s Komma”, Simi was painted out as this great guy but got in a romantic relationship that wasn’t the best thing for him, causing a chink in his emotional armor.

In “Coalesce”, the work featured in Concordant Vibrancy, Visha’s narrative is painted in a way that really has you not liking her from the jump, yet once you get to the end, it makes you question your initial thoughts.

Even as the Transcendent Choice series plays out, some characters (and not necessarily the main ones) will possess that DQ. It makes the writing a lot of fun for me and keeps the readers on their toes.

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This concludes another round table. Stay tuned next month as we tackle “Short Stories”. Wanna take part in the round table? Find me on Facebook and send me a message.

DR

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