Those who can’t do, write–10 Things My Characters Do Better Than Me

I suppose this is going to be a bit self-deprecating, but it seemed like an interesting idea at the time.  These are in no particular order.

10 Things My Characters Do Better Than Me

1. Bake–One character made cherry almond torte for her date.  When I make cookies, they have to be eaten with a spoon.  (The incident that inspired this list.)

2. Math–Another character uses algorithms to track current patterns and find sunken ships.  I almost killed myself by miscalculating how much insulin to give myself for a meal.

3. Science–Heck, four characters in my latest book are oceanographers.  If it isn’t obvious yet, I’m an English-minded person.

4. Date–All of my protagonists (with the exception of one) get their guy in the end.  I am single (though now it’s by choice).

5. Garden–The character in book 3 of my new series is an earth elemental, which means she makes all things grow beautiful and healthy.  My mom had to buy me a “forever blossom” so I could maintain a flower in my room.  (I’ll give you a hint: it’s a fake flower attached to a lucky bamboo, the one plant I’ve managed not to kill.)

6. Exercise–When danger comes, you can bet my female heroines are capable of kicking butt, or at least running away.  I have a bad arch that gives in if I try to run; I’d be dead meat.

7. Blood–No adventure would be complete without action: sword/gun fights, explosions, car chases, and of course the various scrapes and contusions that come with it.  I get queasy at the sight of other people’s real blood.  (I know, for a diabetic who pricks her finger five times a day, that seems ironic, huh?)

8. Magic–Okay, so that one’s kind of obvious: many of my characters are supernatural and I’m not, but I’m running out of things to list.

9. Conflict–Someone pissing them off?  The arrogant, sleazy SOB getting in their face?  My strong female characters don’t take crap from no one.  Me…well, I do the deer caught in the headlights thing really well and the meanies usually go away after that.

10. The Outdoors–Whether it’s hiking, camping, or even living in the mountains, so far none of my characters have an aversion to nature.  I, on the other hand, can’t handle the creepy crawlies.  At all.

In my defense, there are a few things I do better than some of my characters, and it’s not like my characters are perfect, flawless people.  They’ve got issues; some they share with me, as a little bit of me gets put into every protagonist, but I get to live a little vicariously through my characters, so sometimes they get to do things I could never (or refuse to) do.

What do your characters do that you wish you could?

13 comments on “Those who can’t do, write–10 Things My Characters Do Better Than Me

  1. My character definitely handles conflict better than I did at 17….but you know what? I write better than my character! Ah-ha – take that Miss Aimee (she’s my protag).

  2. karalennox says:

    Snappy comebacks. My characters say the clever things I can only think of ten minutes after a confrontation has ended.

  3. Tiffany–I love how writers talk about their characters as though they have minds of their own.

    Kara–Oh, so true! Can I get a Snickers bar pause button or something? I love the fast snappy dialogue of witty dramas like The West Wing.

  4. Alina Sayre says:

    Hahahaha. Love this. So true of me too–I especially agree with the Math and Magic categories 🙂

  5. catierhodes says:

    My characters are always more

    * Athletic than I am. If I got into a fistfight right now, I’d have to bite or hit them over the head with a heavy antique glass ashtray. Even at that, I might not win.

    *Wittier than I am. My comebacks are never as funny or biting.

    *Prettier than I am. The men, too. They all look like supermodels.

    * Generally smarter than I am in a pinch.

    Fun post!

    • I would say we writers are witty and smart! We’re just…slower at it. Like Kara said, it comes to us ten minutes…ten hours later. 😉 But I hear ya on the athletic one. I sit in front of a computer all day writing; of course I’m out of shape!

  6. Katy says:

    I love this post! And I think this is true of many writers. My characters do everything better than me, but it’s their superpowers/magical abilities that I envy the most. Oh, and their ability to *actually* talk to/understand animals.

  7. I used a character once to teach myself how to stand up for myself. It worked, but now I have problems going back and editing the beginning of that book because I don’t make her wimpy enough 😛

    My characters know all sorts of things that I don’t. I’m a bit jealous of them, actually. Then they remind me that I can do whatever I want to them, and I feel better >:)

    • How’d you manage that? I would love to learn how to be more like my characters!

      “Then they remind me that I can do whatever I want to them, and I feel better >:)”<–Oohoo, I actually have a blog post about this coming up soon.

      • I made the character as much like me as possible. Instead of writing how I would LIKE to react to situations I dug deep and truthfully answered how I would react, and then wrote her that way. When she finally cracked and started asserting herself it was like I was the one asserting myself, and so I began to.

        But when I really need to kick butt I call on one of my badass girls and try to think how she would deal with the situation and do that 🙂 It doesn’t always work, but I figure every character is just a facet of me – I must have that badassness somewhere in me! 🙂

        Looking forward to that blog post!

      • Very interesting. Sounds like it could be a new therapy technique. Does that mean you wrote her in situations you would likely find yourself in? I know I’ve got the tough, brave, girl kick butt somewhere in me…she just only comes out to play in my imagination.

  8. (No reply button, so I’m having to start a new one :P)

    I doubt it would work for everyone – I have a very strong relationship with my characters (I moved 1000 miles from home and had no friends for a while. My characters became my friends)

    Some of the situations were similar (I gave her the same job) but then I upped the ante a bit by throwing some mythological creatures at her. Like a manticore that’s trying to kill her. And she’s the only one that can see them, which makes everyone think she’s crazy. It was so much fun.

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