As fiction writers, we are behooved to create unique characters to fill the stage that we build on the pages of short stories, novellas, novels, etc. I don't find this a particularly difficult task. I know the role I need them to play and after that, it's just a matter of assigning them physical, mental, and behavioral characteristics: man woman boy girl short tall fat thin ... those are the obvious physical traits. The easy ones.
The aspects of their personalities that I find myself sinking my teeth into are the characteristics and traits that make them who they are. Believable people. Unusual people. Common people. People the reader thinks about and remembers long after they close the book. I want my characters to steal my heart, or have me laugh with them, or well up with sheer joy in spite of myself, or become anxious at their misfortune. I want them to make me angry ... or hate them.
I like to think I've created some pretty interesting characters. I'd have to, since I dreamt them up: Greyson Sloane, an out-of-time PI who thinks it's still the 1940s, Moby Truax, the aging cop in Chain of Evidence who is bitter at being old and not the cop he used to be; Francis “Frankie” Vecchio, Truax’s hotshot FBI Agent and disobliging partner; Hanna Braver, CIA sniper and woman of Faith; Sonja Biel, over-sexed IT whiz and love mentor to Hanna. And probably my favorite in my current effort, young Madeline Brzezinski, eleven years old and abducted as an infant by her “mother” for the welfare money, sexually abused as a child by her mother’s boyfriend.
There are more, each matched to the story I want to tell, complete with supporting cast. The more diversified the better. I like each and every one, because, if you expect your readers to fall in love with your characters, then you better be able to as well.
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I’d love to see it.
Ps. If little Madeline piques your interest, you’ll find her in The Bitter and the Sweet, a short story published by Smart Rhino Publishing in their anthology titled Insidious Assassins. You’ll get a bit of insight into how she’s doing.