Halloween is upon us…
How in the ever-loving earth did it become October 19th? I mean, while I love, love, love Autumn, and this is one of favorite months, but, really? Halloween? Already?
That means we have like…a month until Thanksgiving and two months until Christmas.
Well, now that I’ve picked myself up off the floor, I suppose I will finish my post–albeit with utter panic setting in.
Anyway, it’s October now, so here my family is, gearing up for the holiday season. I’m excited, they are excited, everyone is excited! Except my checkbook, but that’s a whole other can of worms. So what’s the first step in this glorious season….Halloween.
I remember last year when I asked my, then, 7-year-old what she wanted to be for Halloween, her answer actually shocked me. Of course, each year, it’s a guessing game of which Disney Princess it will be. She’s been Ariel, Belle, and Rapunzel so far. One year, she was really into Scooby-Doo so she went as Daphne. It was a great costume until she got tired of the wig.
Anyway, so last year when I asked her, I was waiting the long list of “so-and-so…no wait…so-and-so…no wait…so-and-so…no wait” and on and on, round and round, her little indecisive mind would go for weeks on end, until we were down to the wire.
To my shock, she looked me in the eyes, squared her shoulders, and said. “Catwoman.”
“Like dressed up as a cat?”
“Nope. Catwoman, from Batman.”
Now, while I know this character shouldn’t have shocked me, I mean who doesn’t know Catwoman? But, it shocked me because she’s never seen any movie or TV show with Catwoman in it. Never. After I asked her where she heard about that character she proceeds to inform me some boy at school always talked about Batman and Catwoman.
For the record, she had been homeschooled for over 2 years when we had this conversation. Which means, it had been over 2 years that she’d even seen that boy.
The character was THAT memorable in her mind.
As authors we always love our characters. Sure, they make us mad and drive us crazy when they don’t do what we want them to do all the time, but we still love them. We know them better than we know our selves most of the time, and perhaps, on some level they are more real to us than the best friend you can go have lunch with. Of course, they will be with us for the rest of our lives, no matter how many books we write.
But, what about the reader?
Surely, I want to remember my characters, but I also want a reader to remember them. I want my characters to stick with a reader, in the back of their mind, touching their heart in such a way that they think of them every now and then. They remember their struggles, and hopefully, enjoy traveling along on their journey so much they read the novel over and over again throughout their lives.
But, how does one create such a character? Everyone is different, everyone has different likes and dislikes when it comes to characters and books. What some love, others hate, and it’s hard…strike that, it’s impossible to please everyone. Perhaps, creating those memorable characters is the luck of the draw. Perhaps, it’s from a really great story and really great writing, or perhaps, it’s a combination of all three.
When I think back to all the characters that have stuck with me, usually it’s for various reasons which leaves me to believe that I’m just as indecisive as my daughter. Different types of heros and heroines, different genres, and to be honest, a few even grew on me when the particular book was turned into a movie because of the actor or actress who played the role.
I suppose for now, I will take the road that as long as my characters live on in someone, even if it’s just one person, that’s all that matters.