Monday, January 14, 2013

A Difference in Character

Recently I’ve started working on a new urban fantasy, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.  I’m enjoying the story, the convoluted plot that I haven’t quite worked out yet, but most of all the characters.  As I write along, I keep thinking about what Jacky—my most worked with character—would do in a given situation, then sit back and watch as Kassidy—my newest UF heroine—goes and does something completely different.  

It shouldn’t surprise me the way it does.  Kassidy and Jacky come from two very different worlds, and have two extremely different backgrounds.  Jacky grew up in a small family, being taught and coached and supported as she learned about herself.  She’s always had someone she could turn to for help when things went wrong, even if it was just venting to her mom.  Kassidy grew up alone, in the wild 1860’s, in the west.  She spent most of her time alone, learning to depend on herself, with a few people making strong impressions that shaped her into the woman is she today.

The scene that really caught my attention was after a fight, where Kassidy had been hurt, but not horribly injured, and she and a new companion—she’s not sure what to make of him yet—are sitting against a wall in a triage area chatting.  Jacky would have accepted the companionship and comfort that the companion offered.  Would have found strength in the knowledge that she didn’t have to fight the upcoming battles alone.  

Kassidy, on the other hand, pulls away.  Isolates herself.  She’s used to working alone.  While she’s glad to have someone watching her back while she heals, she’s convinced he’s going to get in her way.  (Again. Because he’s already interfered with her job once.)  

I’ve written plenty of other characters before, in different genres and settings and circumstances, but none of their differences struck me quite at hard as that between Jacky and Kassidy.  Maybe it has something to do with Jacky once being my favorite character to write with ever, but that I’ve fallen out of love with her and her world.  Kassidy is bright and new and it could be her differences that make her so appealing to me at the moment.

Kind of an interesting thought.  I’m anxious to see if this new relationship with Kassidy will bud into something that will span years, or if the attraction will wear off once she’s no longer shiny and new.

I guess only time will tell, right?

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