Saturday, January 27, 2007


Baby barge.
I'm sticking with the theme: Baby.
What is a baby barge? I hear you ask.
It is a wreck just down from Hawaii Kai in Maunalua Bay. About seventy feet deep. I love diving here. The barge is a newer wreck but almost encrusted with coral and other growth. A ton of turtles. A flock of fish. A surfeit of ...sharks?!
Well there are a couple of white tips hanging out under the ledge where the barge rests on the ocean floor.
This is why I love diving here.
You never know what you will get.
Like writing.
My characters take me along for the ride. I just tell them the destination. They plan the route.

7:30 am and 69 degrees.
I was so busy yesterday that I couldn't post. Between my editor and agent I felt like I was in a taffy pull...and I was the taffy.
It's all good.
I survived.
I learned where those readers' guides in the back of books come from...THE AUTHOR!! SURPRISE!!
I have more questions to answer. I will give you an example:
"Which character do you most identify with and why?"
That's a good one. I thought about it and discovered it was not my main character.
It was a flawed, tender secondary character. One I neatly ki...wait...I'm not going to give it away.
I thought about all the books I read. Maybe I can gain more insight into who I am and facets of my writing if I think about this.
For example in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD I identified with Boo.
In A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY I identified with Owen, but not the narrator.
I go for the flawed...
How about you?
Who do you go for?
What character do you identify with?


Kimber An said...

I thought about this and I think I blogged about it a long time ago. I write Futuristic Romance. One would think I'd cast myself as the hot alien babe with huge boobs busting out of her catsuit. In fact, there are not such characters in Star Captains' Daughter.

One would think I would at least cast myself as one of the redheaded heroines, being female and redheaded myself. But, no.

I am Isaiah, 60something African American Chief Medical Officer deeply in love with my high school sweetheart.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Yeah, flawed characters are more interesting. However, in To Kill A Mockingbird, I think I identified with the father.

If we allow ourselves to examine film characters, then there is something so appealing about the likes of Elwood P. Dowd from "Harvey" and Mortimer from "Arsenic and Old Lace"

LadyBronco said...

I tend to identify with the unexpected leader. The character that generally will start out as an unassuming fellow, but shows, by the end of the story, that there is a lot more to him/her than first thought.

Anonymous said...

I loved Dill too - but I mostly identified with Jem - not so much Scout, because she was such a passive viewer, but Jem was tortured and impassioned, and that was something I could definitely relate too, lol.

ORION said...

Oh yeah I love tortured and traumatized!
you know somebody you can save.

Cassandra Tiensivu said...

In my story, it is definitely my heroine. She grows up unwillingly devoid of much contact with other children, save for one. Seems like I spent most of my childhood that way. I hung out mainly with people my grandparent's age and I enjoyed it. They always had such interesting stories to tell about what the world was like when they were young.

As for other people's stories... perhaps I can relate a little bit to Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. I was always the outcast. My family never had much money and I often got picked on for it. I also got stuck with the wacky second hand clothes from eras gone by.

Amy MacKinnon said...

Definitely tortured and angst-ridden. Always wondering...

By the way, Pat, I loved your story over at The Debs about how you sold your book. Sniff, it's great.

Holly Kennedy said...

Almost every time I relate to a secondary character vs. the main character -- someone who's quietly hurting and/or who plays a surprisingly key role in the outcome of the story.

Kristy said...

The underdog, always the underdog :-) The one you never notice, the one that, hopefully, surprises you in the end.

Great blog question!

ORION said...

Don't ya just LOVE a good cry, Amy?
kimber an - My husband cracked up when he just read your post!
yeah hol, someone who helps the main character transform.
Speaking of that I've got to transform these dirty clothes into clean ones!

Kiskadee said...

I love the underdogs, the outcasts. And though the protag in my book does do some pretty heroic stuff, she has to be talked into it, as she doesn't think she can. I like it when people discover unknown reserves of strength, when they overcome weaknesses they thought they had, when they leap over their own shadows and grow. I can't identify with these modern kick-ass heroines. They appear strong and almost masculine to begin with, and never seem to change in the course of the story. Pfooey.

Bernita said...

Hard question for me.
Not sure there's a pattern.
One who figures a way around an impossible conflict perhaps?
One who is thought to be helpless turns out to be cleverer, smarter, stronger than anyone thinks?

Therese Fowler said...

When I was a kid, I believed I was Laura Ingalls Wilder reincarnated.

In SOUVENIR, it's my male protagonist I identify with best--I was a tomboy, so maybe that explains it.

adrienne said...

I'm boring. Most usually I identify with the MC. Unless the MC is tortured, then I identify with the secondary character. To Kill a Mockingbird? Scout all the way.

Kim Stagliano said...

I always felt like Harriet the Spy. Now I feel like a cross between Carol Brady and Morticia Adams!

Heidi the Hick said...

This is tough! I like that you say you give your characters a destination and they take you for a ride. I have one taking me for a ride right now. He's too interesting. I wouldn't say I identify with him necessarily but he is taking up way too much room for someone who is supposed to get dumped by the end of the story. I want to give him more words. But he's very very bad and I resist turning him into the good guy because that wouldn't be fair to him.

I'm noticing as I hang around at writer's blogs that it's not unusual for characters to take on lives of their own. I guess we have to love them to make them real enough?

Zany Mom said...

I most relate to the underestimated. Not the whiny, poor me ones. Instead, the ones you'd never think would kick butt, but then, when it counts, come through and do what needs to be done.

Heidi, I'm with you, where certain characters demand more of the limelight than they are supposed to get.

In my latest work, a supposed-to-be peripheral character was supposed to get bumped off before the middle of the book. Now he's telling me that he's going to play a more central role in the whole novel. Of course, it's yet to be written, so I can overrule him, but usually my characters know more about what's happening in their world than I do, so I need to trust them.