I was asked to write an article geared toward aspiring writers regarding characters-how do I find them, create them, make them three-dimensional? Good questions. I like to start out creating a profile of my characters-physical appearance, background, social status, baggage, family, goals, flaws…the idea being that as you write that you’ve created such an intimate connection between you and that character that you feel you can know what he /she might say or do in any given situation. But that is the beauty of creativity—it’s unpredictable, it can surprise you and on occasion entirely stump you.
In truth, I’ve discovered despite my careful creation process, that once you begin to write, those characters take on a life of their own. Suddenly, it’s as though you’re seeing someone different than the person you envisioned, which led me to a startling conclusion…writing a fictional hero is a lot like falling in love.
Thomas Rodin, my main character in The Master and the Muses, was never actively searching for love. He was searching for a muse that would spark his quirky, creative genius with the ultimate goal of bringing him the acceptance and fame he so desperately desired. If a relationship occurred during the process, then so be it. Thomas was all about what worked for Thomas. There is no mistake; he is not the type of guy one should set her eyes on in terms of commitment. In truth, as I was writing about Thomas, though I found him intriguing as an eccentric artist, a man determined to stand out among the rest, I wasn’t always happy with his behavior. I didn’t always love Thomas from page one, in fact there were times when I wanted one of my heroines to kick him in the arse for his behavior.
But, just as the journey of romance takes us over some rough terrain and hopefully teaches us something about ourselves in the process, Thomas’s journey to his self-awareness, learning his faults and strengths and loving himself despite all of them, came through his experiences with a source he’d never expected—that of his muses, his models.
Thomas is a creative rogue. A man used to running the show, a leader among his peers, revered by men, desired by women. He’s never had to work at relationships. Enter then, three women over a period of a few short years, each one alluring, offering him what he needs to achieve his goals.
Thomas, young, passionate and Casanova-like with women, cannot ignore the chaos, complications and challenge these women bring to his life. Each one, a different person with different needs, desires, and demands, challenges Thomas to take a look at various aspects of himself that up to now, he’s been able to ignore. He doesn’t mean to get involved in their real lives, but it happens. And with each experience, a little more of the veneer he’s created around himself is chipped away. Love has a way of doing that, laying your heart on the line, baring your insecurities, your faults and true, your strengths to another soul. No different than anyone else, Thomas loved, or thought he did, and lost at love, more than once on this journey.
But for a brief time, he saw himself through another person’s eyes, not his own and so too, did I as the author. At first, I wondered how was I going to redeem this fellow? Although he was undeniably adorable (what creative-type isn’t?) he was not from the beginning, the kind of man I would dub as a hero-material. But as I continued to write the stories of the three women who would meet and become his models, each establishing a different relationship with Thomas, I began to see Thomas through the eyes of my heroines. Their view was far different and coincidentally, because of their desires and goals in life, I realized that each of these women was going to have their own distinct impact on Thomas—in a sense, they would be the ones to create a true hero out of Thomas. I didn’t have to.
The format of what RT BOOKreviews calls, “irresistible, a unique story” is set up in first person POV of each woman’s story of her life before, during and after her modeling time with artist, Thomas Rodin. It is not only the story of their journey to happiness, but in a sense collectively, it is the story too of Thomas’s journey to ultimate redemption-his becoming a man that you fall in love with.
Heroes, in my humble opinion, are created, not ready-made. It is the man you would least consider hero material that I love to write about, because invariably, he is the one who will surprise and delight, often becoming even more of a hero than you could ever imagine.
I am intrigued by the wide variety of perceptions describing “the perfect hero.” Some see only the physical appearance, where others describe only the emotional makeup, minimizing physical appearance.
What is your definition of the perfect hero /heroine?
Today, I’m giving away a MASTERS AND THE MUSE coffee mug to one lucky person commenting on this question.
Until next time,