Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Monday, September 27, 2010

Characters In Search Of A Book

Sometimes during the writing process we create characters who won't fit into what we're actually writing. At least not quite yet. Such is the case with two of my own creations, who are both impatiently waiting for a genre.

Lars Ulrich started out in a series of fake news articles I wrote on IMDb. He was hunting a murder suspect, a crazy person who had inadvertantly caused the death of the object of his desire, across the Swiss Alps. Lars was a police inspector who disliked the media, and wanted only to catch his murderer. Little did I know as I chose his name that Lars Ulrich is also a member of Metallica. I don't like metal, so how would I know? It was pointed out to me, though, after the first such article, and I ran with it.

Lars would frequently take questions from reporters every once in awhile as the search for the murderer was interrupted. Entertainment journalists kept mistaking him for the other Lars Ulrich. It got to the point where he started beating up reporters, and really... can you blame him?

Just for the record, I consider entertainment reporters to be fairly low on the evolutionary scale. Just so you know.

Unfortunately I didn't save those articles. I liked them. I did bring Lars back for a couple of similar articles at Writers' Digest, where he's now an Ontario police inspector. His hunt turned to the killer of an unnamed man (okay, I was the supposed victim; it's a long story) whose heart had been cut out and eaten. And I've brought him back again for that last Rufus article, as you can see. Might Rufus be the greatest adversary Lars has ever had? Only time will tell.

It seems I've never actually provided a physical description of the good Inspector, so here it is: he's around forty (good age for his rank). He'd probably have short dark hair, brush cut. And of course, given his personality, he'll have a permanent scowl. Think a young Clint Eastwood scowl. It suits him.

It's possible that down the line I can use him. There's a project that might happen where he'd fit right in, but inserting him into Heaven & Hell just won't do.

Turning then to the other character. Delilah is a name that occasionally turns up in my various ramblings in online forums. Sometimes she takes the role of a nun, Sister Delilah of the Sisters of Little Or No Mercy. That's my naughty nun fantasy coming to the surface, by the way. Other times, she's the sultry seductress who will have her way with anyone who comes across her path. My mental image of her is that of a curvaceous femme fatale with long black hair, dark eyes full of lust and desire, spilling out of a black evening dress... oh my, is it getting hot in here?
I've thought of using her in some capacity in the series. I mean, I love the name. The problem is that the name Delilah comes with a lot of baggage. You hear it, and you think "the bad girl" or "femme fatale". It's almost expected. Aside from the Biblical babe of ill repute, Delilah turns up, in all places, as an assassin who likes to talk in a sing-song voice from the Marvel universe.

And while I do have something in mind involving a nun (get your mind out of the gutter! I'm talking about writing!), that particular nun can't have that name. It just wouldn't suit her. Particularly given her connections to a rather nasty piece of work named Cain. Two biblical named characters with a shared past in the same book? It just won't do.

The challenge of creating a character named Delilah down the line might well be to create a sympathetic character instead of the femme fatale. Not too sympathetic, mind you. Just enough that people won't be reading the whole book expecting her to stab the protagonists in the back...

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