What makes a character memorable and not just another name on a page? As both an avid reader and writer, I ask myself that often. As a reader, I look for characters who aren’t perfect. Characters with flaws that are able to overcome them and come out on top. I also have a tendency to fall in love with the underdog.
As a writer, I try to endow my characters with qualities and traits that reflect different aspects of who I am. Hence the many lesbian and African American protagonist. I also like to give my characters traits and qualities that I wish I had. Take for instance Valeria’s snarky, in your face attitude. That is so not me. (but sometimes I wish it was)
Not a day goes by without a new name popping into my head making me wonder how I can utilize them. Most of them end up lost in the nether regions of my brain, never to be heard from again. But every once and awhile a character pops into my head that just screams for me to see them.
When this happens I usually end up putting off what I am working on and giving that character my full attention. Sometimes this results in me writing that particular characters background, and filing them away to use at a later point in one of my stories. Carrie, Irulan’s doomed first love from Never Again: An Irulan Short, is just such a character. Carrie popped into my head while I was working on a fantasy story almost ten years ago. I really liked the character, but there was no where for her in the story that I was trying to tell. Thus she sat and waited until the perfect setting arrived.
At other times, a character refuses to go quietly to the rolodex in my mind and wait patiently. These characters want their place in the sun and they want it regardless of who or what else I was writing at the time. Valeria, Still Rivers, and Theory Cunningham are people that refused to go quietly into the night. Each of them are the protagonist in Crimson Dawn, Ascension, and The Road To Was, respectively.
Well another character is demanding her time in the spotlight, which is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. It’s good because I have a wide staple of characters to draw from for a long time to come. Its bad because when these new characters come a knocking, they distract me from someone else’s story.
Whatever it may be, I can’t ignore her. Ladies and gents I give you Lawless. Lawless is a character in the third Darklife short. A character that before I began filling in parts of her personality and background, was just going to be a less-than-minor player in D vs D; a means to help Valeria crack the case she’s on. Lawless is no where near a minor player any longer. She’s insanely sexy (I see Rhona Mitra as Lawless), relentless and unapologetic in her pursuit of what she wants; regardless of the consequences, and undeniably one of the most entertaining characters that I think I will ever write.
That’s saying a lot considering I haven’t even written her first line of dialogue. Hell, I haven’t even introduced her to the storyline yet. Never the less, Lawless is already firmly entrenched in my head. I can almost see her standing in front of me, none to patiently waiting for me to throw her into the action. I see you Lawless!
Wondering about her name? I am a diehard Xena fan. Lawless is my ode to Mrs. Lucy Lawless, the wonderful actress who brought the chakra wielding warrior princess to life for six seasons. One of the things that will be included in my description of her, is the fact that she has a chakra with an X through it, tattooed on her wrist.
Aside from being a Xena fan, Lawless is mostly a mystery to the people she interacts with. Very few people know how old she really is and are privy to information about her past. She owns a tattoo shop, and is an expert in lost civilizations. The people closest to her speculate that she has first hand knowledge of many of the places she talks about, but she will neither confirm or deny anything. Lawless’s sexuality is also very fluid. She rides the line between ultra femme and tomboy with expert precision. She’s just as comfortable in thrift shop jeansand a t-shirt, as she is a ten thousand dollar gown.
Let’s see, what else can I say about Lawless to prepare readers for her introduction into the Darklife world? Nothing much without giving away too much. But, I can tell you that for her, Irulan is the one that got away…Lawless is a very sore loser.
Lawless has made herself a very memorable character for me; one that I see living far beyond the short story that she‘s introduced to the world in. I hope that she is just as memorable to my readers as she is for me. You’ll meet her soon in D vs. D: A Valeria Short, the next Darklife Short. I hoped to have it ready by Monday, but the introduction of Lawless to the storyline has caused it to grow quite a bit. I have re-written my outline and added another chapter. Hopefully I can wrap things up in time for a Thursday upload date.
To find out more about Crimson Dawn and any of the works mentioned, head over to my website, http://www.ronniemassey.com/. Also, be sure to sign up for the FrogenYozurt.com newsletter so you’ll know the minute Crimson Dawn has an exact release date.