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4.8.11

Summertime blues

I know what people think. Why on earth would anyone complain about summer? Especially a Canadian who's already made it perfectly clear she's no fan of winter? Simple. Heat and sun. I've discovered over the past couple of years, it isn't the weather, either cold, blowing snow and sleet, or hot, humid, angry sunshine beating down. It's the outdoors: I am just not an out-doorsy type of person.

There are some things I do like to do, like gardening, that obviously just work better outside *wink* but as far as just hangin' in the back yard? Not so much.

I had a visit in the city of Toronto once, near Christmas a few years ago, and discovered the ultimate joy of being able to get from the apartment to the mall without ever stepping foot outside, thanks to the wonderful invention of the subway. Crazy? Possibly. But at twenty below, can you blame me?

When spring comes, I do get the bug to get outside. It lasts for about two weeks, and then when the heat really starts, I'm content to spend my days mostly inside where it's cool and comfortable.

What interests me about all this is the fact that, without really thinking much about it, I've mostly transferred this anomaly onto a lot of my characters. Not that any of them really ever state they don't like the outdoors, but for a bunch of guys, (and I pretty much write mostly men) they really don't spend much time enjoying nature. Cowboys aside, most of them are city dwellers who like a great view of the park form their high-rise apartments. I think over the years, I've written one gardener and a handful of horse men. The rest pretty much like their safe and sheltered homes, offices and studios. It makes me think. What other of my own ingrained perceptions about the world or my own penchants and habits do my characters share that I have never even noticed?

What do you other writers think? Do you consciously think about ways to make your characters different form you? Do you readers recognize trends in your favorite author's characters? Maybe that's why we're drawn to the books we are. Certain authors might, unconsciously, create characters with similar backgrounds and fundamentalism traits that draw us. Thoughts?

7 comments:

C. Zampa said...

Enjoyed your post, Jaime! And a very interesting thought!

I wonder how much of my characters ARE part of me, too. Not much I hope, I don't want them to be as boring as I! LOL...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and--as always---it's wonderful to see you.

Jaime Samms said...

Thanks, Carol. I hope the aspects of my characters that reflect me reflect the most flattering bits, as well! lol!

Jennifer Thorne said...

I know that things that I'm interested about end up in my stories, or topics that I'm interested in and want to research sometimes spawn story ideas... For characters I try to give them their own voice, but I haven't written enough to know if they sound alike (or like me :) It would possibly take someone who knows me well to read a few in a row to say for sure.

Jaime Samms said...

Jennifer, it's true about things that interest me showing up is stories. For instance, an inordinate number of my characters are artists of one sort or another, and everyone drinks coffee. I had to make a concerted effort to show a character choosing to drink tea over coffee. I think I would have a hard time getting through the day without at least one cup of joe. lol!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Jaime,

I think we can't help but reflect our preferences in our characters. In some cases, it's stuff we don't even think about. For example, I have zero interest in team sports. So I'd never write a character who was a member of a football team or even enjoyed watching sports on TV. (In fact, my characters rarely if ever watch TV, since I don't.) It would never occur to me.

On the other hand, my characters all tend to drink wine or scotch, like to read, and enjoy travel. Obviously!

Jaime Samms said...

That's just it, isn't, Lisabet? If we give them habits of our own without thinking about it, what else do we infuse them with, like feelings or biases we don't even think about. I guess that's where writing could becomes a very intimate self-examination.

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