August 17, 2011

Day Five {Least Favorite}

day five: the least favorite character you've written

(This is a bit like the Razzie Award, isn't it? I don't know that I would want the distinction of Worst Character.)

When on day one I struggled to produce a favorite character, I was looking over a cast of characters whom I dearly love and trying to pick out one - at most two - who I could tentatively call my "favorite." Like most writers, I even take pleasure in my villains. Christopher of The Soldier's Cross was indeed less fun to write than Jamie of Wordcrafter or Lewis of The White Sail's Shaking, but still I know him and he belongs to me, so I can be pleased with him. No, none of my villains can step in to fill this role.

I have had difficult characters in all my works so far, with the possible exception of Wordcrafter. In fact, I've discovered that I have the most trouble with female characters. Jamie and Copper, the two women of Wordcrafter, came with surprising ease to me, however, and so I would have to turn to either Fiona (The Soldier's Cross) or Marta Rais (The White Sail's Shaking). But I don't even remember writing Fiona (ah, the bliss of forgetfulness), so I would have to say that currently my least favorite character is

Marta Rais

Marta is the other main character of White Sail's. The daughter of a Syracusan actress and a British seaman, Marta is orphaned at seventeen when her mother dies of an illness and her father is reportedly killed in an engagement with a French corvette. Her survival depends on either reaching England and, hopefully, her father's relatives, or remaining in Syracuse and going to work in a theatre. She refuses to do the latter and turns all her energies toward getting to Britain, but by a twist of Providence she finds herself on an American schooner heading to a war with the Barbary states instead of a British merchant bound for England.

Marta is a hard character to write because she is a woman in a man's world, which means I have to show her vulnerability while still trying to convey her strength of character. I had the same trouble with Fiona. Women weren't meant to be running here and there without anyone to protect them, and so it is difficult to feel and write the emotions of a girl who finds herself in a situation such as this. She can't be crying all the time (Tip would go crazy, poor fellow) but neither can I pretend that she would be as cool and collected as a man when she has just been dumped into a world entirely foreign to her. There has to be a balance, and it's a difficult one to find.

Although I am 90,000 words into my novel, most of the sections that are to be from Marta's perspective have yet to be written because she is still largely an unknown. I suspect, however, that by the time I reach the final page of White Sail's I will be as fond of Marta as of the other characters, and once again I'll have no reply when someone asks me who my least favorite character is. Which is fine with me.


  1. Good luck working everything out with Marta! It sounds like it'd be tough to make her strong, but not unrealistically so, and like a lady in her time period, but not a wimp.

    And good point about that and the Razzie Award. It made me laugh.

  2. I read this post and then filed it away, but it came back to me yesterday evening. It was very allegorical to me. You can't ask a writer to pick their least favorite character. They don't really have one. They love them all, even the bad ones, even the crazy ones, even the quiet ones...because they spent so much time and energy on making them. That's just how God feels about us. We're the characters in his story, and every time we feel like losers, He's saying, "No! I love you! It gave me pleasure to make to, and it gives me pleasure to watch you!" He doesn't have least favorites, either. :)

  3. We do derive our worth from being made in the Image of God and, still more so, in being redeemed and in Christ. It's not from anything within ourselves; it is God who gives us our worth. Of course, however, He does make some vessels for honor and some for dishonor. We are not all "equal" in His dealings with us. But His love for all His saints is boundless and undeserved. (And sometimes I think my characters don't deserve my love, either...)

    Thanks for commenting, both of you!


meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings

The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings

Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
currently writing

Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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