Meme catch up again

27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

Some characters’ physical appearances make a difference in their story, and some don’t.  Generally, if my characters are handsome they receive more attention of the “phwoar, I’d do him” variety from people of the appropriate orientation.  They also tend to be treated with suspicion by people who are not of the appropriate orientation, who assume that  – being good looking – they probably didn’t get where they are now by skill or hard work alone.  I wouldn’t say it was a big role, though, it’s more a case of something that I bear in mind when deciding who will react to them in what way.

28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

Well,  Sulien self-harms, but only when things are very bad.  Alec has asthma, but manages it pretty successfully.  John and Darren have varying degrees of post traumatic stress, but they are coping with it and are showing signs of recovery by the time the books end.

29. How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

I guess like everyone else, my answer to the first part of this is “all the time.”  When I’m not writing, I’m hoovering up research material and thinking “ooh, wouldn’t it be cool if…”  Or I’m wondering how L is going to convince F that he needs to kill B, because he’s not the kind of person who would do that kind of thing normally.  Or I’m thinking that what I wrote yesterday is weak and might be better if I changed it in [whatever] way.  Or I’m noticing the sound of rain and wondering what word is most redolent of the experience of standing under a tin roof and hearing the heavy droplets bounce off.  (Patter, smatter, scattershot?)  Or I’m listening to people talk and trying to hear the rhythm and vocabulary.

Real life tends to come first.  I watch a film about tall ships and think “I Want!” and start that research hoovering thing so that I can have ships of my own.  I go on holiday to Cornwall and see all the slim, svelte, beautiful surfers with their salt tangled hair, and I think “Ooh, you need to be in a story, mate!”  The family go on a weekend trip to Duxford air show, and I listen to the whumm, whumm, whumm of a Lancaster engine and think “I’m so having one of those.”  And then I have to figure out how to fit it into a story that was supposed to be about elves.  It’s a kind of kleptomania, I guess, though eventually I do give it all back.

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14 years ago

27 is an interesting topic, Alex. I like to find a photo of my characters to help me picture them and then, as you say, work out how other characters will relate to them. Of course, it’s highly unlikely that character’s face will appear on the cover, so perhaps my efforts are in vain.
This then also brings in the concept that the cover illustration often affects how the reader relates to the character (possibly why so many headless torsos are used. LOL)
Interestingly, my current WIP has an Asian male as the main protagonist and I worry that this will make it harder for a reader to relate to the character.
I don’t care what anybody says, appearances play a significant role in people’s and fictional characters lives. Maybe they shouldn’t but reality states differently.

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