On Characters and Mac the Defender (And Ramblings)

Characters are probably the most important element in a story, if you’re me. Without a good, memorable character, a book is bland and lifeless.

So, I thought I’d burden you with my thoughts on characters, today. And other things that tie in, of course. At least in my brain. Aren’t you so excited? You should be.

Now, we ramble.

Every writer, in my limited experience (feel free to correct me), puts something of themselves into a character. If it’s too much, and too badly written, the readers will call it a Mary Sue and be done with it. But we’re not focusing on those, right now. This is about me. Focus. Geez.

Anyway, with me, I have a tendency toward writing male characters, with dark and troubled pasts. Abuse is certainly an issue, and they have a lot of the same problems I have. Depression. Suicidal mentalities. An urge to protect others from going through what they’ve been through. An obsession with not being weak.

Heck, I was writing all my characters with depression before I knew I was depressed. It was the only reality I knew, and I thought everyone was like that. Surprise, surprise, Mac.

In my writing, my characters get better. At least, they start down the road to recovery. I guess that’s me, protecting them the best way that I can. Because I feel the need to protect people (and animals) that are going through, or have gone through, similar things.

My cat, Moe, is terrified of everything. My dad and I found her in an add, and drove out to get her. The first time I saw her, she was cowering in the back of a cat carrier, and she hissed at me. When I picked her up, holding her against my chest, she started to tremble. She stayed quietly on my lap the entire way home.

At home, she curled up under my bookcase and wouldn’t come out. I would have been fine to leave her be, but she had two knots in her fur, so I took her out and cut them out. Imagine my surprise when I realized she was purring. After that, I started taking her out and giving her attention for a couple minutes every day. Slowly, she started warming up to me.

It’s been three years since I got her. She’s still a skittish little stinker. But she sleeps on my bed. And my roommate’s. She attacks receipts in the middle of the floor. She comes to me or my roommates unfailingly when she wants attention. She rolls over and lets you rub her belly. Her purr is audible. Of course, you still have to be careful not to approach her too quickly or speak in the wrong tone, and I’m crazily protective of her, but she’s gotten so much better. It’s wonderful, for me, to see how far she’s come. How far my characters have come.

And yes, how far I’ve come.

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