It’s April, and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge. I really must be a glutton for punishment; April is my last month of college, and I’m still an amateur blogger, but I must say, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to be writing short little blurbs about some retired characters from my DISTANT past up until recently; all of them are failed concepts. Part of me is hoping that writing about these characters will inspire me…perhaps to write more during the summer when school is out.
I had a lot of L options, but I decided to work with Lance because he was a special character for me once upon a time; unfortunately, that love for a character is incredibly dangerous. He started off as a medieval fantasy version of my dad when I decided to write about the legendary mercenary-turned-priest, R.L. Hawk.
R.L. Hawk was a man of the world and the leader of a ruthless band of men known only as Lux. One day, he captured a young female knight, but he was so taken by her beauty that he thought twice about torturing and/or executing her. He ended up letting her go, and the two met in secret several times after that, and the rest is history! But not really. Despite how cliche the love story is, I somehow managed to weave in a plot involving cultists and betrayal. Lance and his sweetheart started a family, but they had to disband the group to escape all of the trouble that was brewing.
This was actually one of my favorite plots to play with for a time. But as I got older, it got more and more difficult to write for Lance.
You see, I recognized a fundamental flaw in creating characters based off of people I know. I’m not sure if other writers have this issue, but it has actually become a huge issue for me. I recently got to listen to author, Danny Woodrell speak about his experiences with drawing inspiration directly from real life. Real people are great, but they also complicate things. Thankfully, Woodrell has mastered the art of disguising his characters even though he lives in a tiny Ozark town. (I don’t think any riots have broken out because his novels reveal a little too much about his next door neighbors. Thank goodness.)
As for Lance, the association with my father is super obvious, and no matter how much I’ve tried to mold him into something else, it never works. He somehow morphs back into my father no matter how hard I try. I realized that I have a tendency to demonize people when I shift into one of my foul moods. (It was even worse when I was a petty teenager.)Lance will probably be one of those characters I retire permanently simply because he’s part of my father’s story, and I think that it’s his story to tell. Not mine.
But then again, who knows? Does anyone have advice for creating characters like this?