I enjoy finding out how other writers approach their craft, and especially how they develop their characters. J J Dare, author of False Positive and False World, delights in creating evil characters. As a fellow collaborator in the Second Wind serialization, Rubicon Ranch, J J Dare created the monstrous victim in Rubicon Ranch: Necropieces, the second book of the series, along with a couple of his offspring. In her blog post Bad Wasps, J J Dare said of her two POV characters:
They’re bad. Bad to the bone. Bad in ninety-five percent of their molecular makeup. If an ice-cream flavor was named after them, it would be “Vinegar and Vinegar” and it would taste just as sour as it sounds.
They are evil, narcissistic, self-centered, selfish and plain mean. Both characters think nothing of climbing over the living and dying bodies of anyone in their way. They are Bad Wasps.
So, why did I write them this way? It’s not a reflection of me. I’m fairly mild, with only a bit of flair once in a while. And I’ve never wanted to murder my parents.
I’m glad she added those last two sentences. Someday J J and I will meet, and I’d hate to have to go to the meeting prepared for mayhem.
Seeing how much fun J J Dare has with her evil characters, I’d considered exchanging my character for a bad wasp (or perhaps revealing a waspish side, which I might someday do), but my character, Melanie Gray still has so much work to do that I can’t just dump the poor woman. She needs to find out who killed her husband and why, and she needs to resolve her feelings for the misogynist sheriff.
J J’s characters might not reflect her, but Melanie Gray is a lot like me. She’s a writer dealing with grief, she wanders in the desert, she’s fairly calm and passive though she can be riled. Even though she started as an alter ego (but younger) she turned out to be a world traveler, which I am not, and she has a penchant for finding dead bodies, which I don’t. Thank heavens for that! Being some sort of human cadaver dog has never been an aspiration of mine.
If you have not yet checked out Rubicon Ranch, now would be a good time. You can download the first book free in the ebook format of your choice here: Rubicon Ranch: Riley’s Story and you can follow the second book as we finish writing it here: Rubicon Ranch: Necropieces. And you will have to prepare for mayhem!
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+