How much of my character’s coolness reflects personal wish fulfillment
Okay bear with me for a bit of navel-gazing. I’ve been thinking about my characters and where they reflect parts of me as I am, as I wish I was, or as I hope I never am!
I started thinking about this today as I was filling in a character sheet for the two main characters in a novella I’m working on. Without adding too many spoilers – I have two characters – Jade, a 190+ year old vampire with poor fashion sense and anger management issues who suffers from social anxiety, and Beth, tall, blond, and confident. Which one do you think reflects me?
Things I am
We’ll start with the bad fashion sense. Yeah, that’s me for sure. My wife finally convinced me to toss a five year old pair of sneakers that I was extending the life of with insoles year after year. And I finally agreed that neither of us really needed to see my white socks sticking out of the hole in the top of one sneak. So Jade definitely has a bit of that in her, and she’s not the only one. Both Dray and Kay in my science fiction series are on the messy side when it comes to clothes.
As for anger management, well, I haven’t kicked my foot through any doors of late (hi Dad!), but I have been known to smash something already broken, with a hammer, just to let go a little frustration. Jade’s anger management issues go a bit deeper, what with being a blood sucker with super strength. Her anger issues lead to more than splintered bits of an old piece of electronics!
Things I’m not
This list is a bit easier, I’m certainly not tall, blond, or particularly strong. Nor am I the self-controlled leader that Ayaan is from Eye of the Damned. But that gets us back to – who would I wish myself to be if I had a magic wand? I confess, I would wish a bit more height than my current 5ft 4 inches (and yes, that is stretching my neck as much as the doctor’s office will allow). I’d probably also wish more confidence than I usually have. Not a lot, just enough to kick the old impostor syndrome to the curb where it belongs.
Things I never want to be
And now we get beyond wish fulfillment. I don’t ever want to be immortal (or a blood sucker for that matter). I’m okay with life being bounded by the same end everyone faces. Living for centuries has to have some kind of lasting impact on a person (something I plan on exploring with Jade). I also don’t aspire to greatness, at least not the kind of fame or power some of my characters have. I’m quite happy being a little gardening bee and just having fun with life.