Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jimmy the Raisin

How and when do you decide to make a minor character recurring? Or don’t you?

Some writers are lucky enough (skilled enough?) to create characters that speak to them. The characters “tell” the writers where they want to go in the story, what they want to do, who they want to kill. Sometimes I envy those writers because my characters just sit there, like misshapen lumps of modeling clay, waiting for some kind of direction from me.

And it’s not always easy to figure out what those characters should do—I was never good with clay.100_3753

That’s why, when I do create a character that’s complex, fully-formed, and compelling, I like to keep him or her around for a while. I mean, those are the characters that are fun to write!

Thankfully, most of the “funnest” characters I’ve created are main characters who appear in every series book. But when I stumble upon a minor character who fits the bill—someone who is unique or fascinating (or humorous or dark or whatever) and is fun to write—then I’ll find a role for him or her in future books. (I’m all about the fun!)

It’s not just characters within a series that get considered for inclusion/exclusion. I took a fun-to-write character from a standalone work-in-progress and plopped him into one of my Last Laff books (with a name like Jimmy the Raisin and a face to match, how could I help myself?).

But Jimmy the Raisin didn’t seem to mind at all, or if he did, he didn’t complain to me. After all, I’m the writer, this is my show, and I can do whatever the heck I want. I don’t have to answer to anybody!

Right, Jimmy?

(This entry is “simul-posted” on Criminal Minds.)


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