Lilo Abernathy, author of The Light Who Shines, has been nice enough to swing by The Brainy Bookshelf and share with us her thoughts on creating memorable characters. You can find her book here and check out her awesome post below!
Fiction is primarily an escape from the mundane reality of our normal existence. Often we tire of our monotonous lives, always spending our time on meeting expectations and obligations. Let’s face it, life can be boring. However, our books don’t have to be!
Not all stories, but many stories would benefit from the Gorgeous Crazy Hat Lady. But who is she? Imagine a tall beautiful woman wearing a large hat adorned with an abundance of feathers in shades of fuchsia and teal, further accessorized with strands of bright beads hanging about her neck. She walks into a stately tearoom and the entire room hushes in stunned awe as they watch her advance with feathers spilling out and drifting behind her.
She represents a character who is often colorful in dress or personality, which creates wonderful visuals that delight our minds. This eccentricity isn’t typically a ploy for attention; instead, the character simply dances to their own tune. The rules of society seem to have little impact on them. When an idea pops in their mind, they just do it without inhibition. They exhibit the kind of freedom we sometimes wish we had.
However, the truly fun part is that their behavior is unpredictable and electrifying to the story. Sensational scenes or circumstances can be written around the Gorgeous Crazy Hat Lady because she is the most malleable character of all.
Of course, the character doesn’t have to be gorgeous or crazy or a lady, the hat is optional as well! He could be the class clown companion to your studious hero. She could be the rebel rock-and-roll chick in a conservative town. Sometimes these extraordinary characters only display their unusual proclivities in one aspect of their personality. Imagine a tough burly man who cuddles with kittens or sings opera. Perhaps the Spock-like brainy computer geek has a secret beanie baby collection. It could be that the devout Catholic regularly visits tattoo parlors, harboring a fetish for cartoon character line art.
The wonder of creative writing is that the possibilities are endless. Even so, we more often then not see characters whose behaviors are limited to the norm.
In my book, The Light Who Shines, one of the supporting characters is a wiry, feisty older woman with enchanting green eyes. She also happens to change her hair color every other day. And by hair color, I mean fuchsia, ice blue, fire engine red, peach sherbet, and etcetera. She coordinates her hair dye to match her outfits and reads fashion magazines during her leisure. She doesn’t cook, but makes outstanding southern beverages instead. The time she saves by avoiding the stove is used to think of outlandish pranks to play against her would-be suitor.
She is not the main character, but she brings light and fun to the story. She is in a word, interesting. Isn’t that what a fiction story should be?
About Lilo Abernathy:
I’m currently forty-two, but that could differ depending on what year you read this. Unless some fundamental laws of nature change, I expect that number to only get higher. I am half Italian and half Irish. Well, the Irish side is sort of an Irish/German/English/French/Scottish mix, but since I believed I was truly half Irish until my mother’s foray into genealogy, I’m sticking to that story.
I live amidst the Smoky Mountains and can sometimes see the shadows of clouds lying on the mountains from my front porch. I am not yet snobbish enough to call it a veranda, but time will tell. I’m a great believer in the proof being in the pudding. Sometimes my young adult daughter joins me on the veranda… err, porch to admire the view. Often my Australian Shepherd runs around the veranda looking for things to shepherd in the yard. Because we are decidedly lacking in livestock, he frequently presents me with slobbery balls to throw. I, in turn, do my best to ignore them. I feel justified in this neglect because I am planning on adopting a girlfriend for him soon so they can wrestle over the slobbery ball together to wagging tails’ content.
I started working full time while in high school and haven’t stopped since. My illustrious career began with a smattering of service experiences at various fast food and restaurant chains, went on to fine jewelry, slipped into property management for housing projects, morphed into corporate real estate, then ended up in mergers and acquisitions. Please don’t ask me how that happened as I would have to kill you if I told you.
My home is a modestly sized ranch, recently purchased and still not completely unpacked. The walls are a boring light beige, but they make the perfect backdrop for my brightly colored Gustav Klimt canvas prints. Van Gogh hopes to join Klimt on my walls soon, but right now the brakes on my Cube need to be fixed, and the washer overflows if I place the water level on super-duper high. Priorities, priorities.
More importantly than all of the above, you absolutely must know that my favorite color is purple. Not Barney purple, no offense to Barney, but more of a medium eggplant purple. I like to think of it as a “mature” purple, but deep down I know it is really just purple.
Thanks for stopping by Lilo!