My favorite aspect of writing is building characters. I’m not sure if that’s odd or not, but creating this fresh slate of a person with various nuances, pet peeves, mannerisms, and gestures, just does it for me. I look forward to it and I invite them to reside in my skull. The most recent creation is Mason Conway. A rough and rugged man who is a personal trainer having to survive in a world where they find out that the monsters are real.
What is unique about Mason isn’t how quickly he has wormed his way into my head. No, I’ve had it happen before and I feel like I’ve known him for years. The only oddity about it is that this is the first time a male character has done that. I usually connect to the women characters…which isn’t that surprising. So while that is an unexpected merging with Mason, it’s not quite as surprising as where the inspiration for him came from.
I will admit to a fascination with the show Lost. (psstt, I haven’t seen the final episode yet so don’t SPOIL it for me!) Most notably the character of Jack Shephard. Incidentally, I seem to have an affinity for characters named Jack from Stargate to Lost and ending finally with a character in my own book named Jack. Who is not a primary character by the way, but I digress. I, like a majority of the fans of the good Doctor (okay, maybe not so good moral wise, but good with his hands), have hunted for pictures. Now, I’m one of those very particular picture hunters. I want only specific ones and I pass by dozens of pictures that are good, but not worth my admiration.
Well, I found one of Matthew Fox (let’s be honest, the fascination is with him as well, not just the character) where he’s just lounging back, his hand behind his head and he’s staring at the camera. The way the picture was taken is almost like he’s staring at you. It’s a little intense actually.
Anyway, this particular picture scrolled onto my screen just as I was thinking about character dynamics for my newest (actually old idea refurbished) idea and boom, I was no longer looking at Jack/Matt Fox, but I was looking at Mason Conway. I kid you not, I actually talk to the picture when I’m reaching for a detail. He’s given me the answer too (before anyone thinks I’m nuts, I know I’m not the only writer who feels their character answering back to them).
What is odd is that this has never happened to me before. I typically can’t find a picture of a character in anyone, I see close resemblances, but never exactly. These characters just look different to me and comes after I do the crafting. It’s just….weird in a way. Cool, but weird. I am curious to know if this is something that happens to others, or is it just me….or is it the story? Maybe the picture?
Ah hell, I don’t know. All I do know is that Mason is stuck in my head and is starting to get pushy. Which is a rush I haven’t felt in a long time.
- When do you write your character background? from A Hero Twice A Month (aherotwiceamonth.com)