Wednesday, November 6, 2013


by Clare O'Donohue

This week's question... what bad habits do my characters have and do I share them?

In my Kate Conway Mystery series, Kate's bad habits are:

1. eating too much take-out (yes, though I'm trying to be healthier)
2. too many ill-time sarcastic remarks (yes, unfortunately)
3. being to much of a push over when it comes to her late husband's mistress (which, thankfully, does not apply)

In my Someday Quilts Mystery series, my main character Nell Fitzgerald's bad habits are:
1. Spending too much money on quilt related items (yes, but in my defense I have few other vices)
2. Um.... that's it really. Nell has grown into a very nice, sensible person. (which, again, does not apply)
I think like a lot of writers, I may start out with a character that circles my own personality, but the funny thing about fictional people... they become real as we write them. Nell and Kate are as different from each other as they are from me.
Nell is definitely the more adult of the three of us (though also the youngest). She started off confused and scared, but now runs a business, has a strong, healthy relationship, good friendships and a sense of belonging. Sure she can't resist the call of a murder, but otherwise she's in pretty good shape.
Kate, on the other hand, is still a bit of a mess. She's tired, overworked, at the mercy of the fickle moods of a crazy business (TV), still dealing with the fall-out of her estranged husband's death. If she wants to eat take-out rather than cook, who can blame her? (I don't know what my excuse is). Her sarcasm is a self-defense mechanism. I don't know if she'll ever be as healthy as Nell, but then Nell has 3 novels and two novellas on her.  
As for me? I guess I could work on my faults, as Nell did, or struggle with them, as Kate does... but I prefer to keep my bad habits in my back pocket for my next mystery series. A character who hates to get out of bed in the morning, is only sporadically organized, and takes on too many projects at once. Look at that, my next character is practically writing herself!


Catriona McPherson said...

Never ever ever stop the sarcasm!

Robin Spano said...

Love it. Save the vices in case a character needs them. Words to live by.

Lori Rader-Day said...

You lead such a sordid life.

Lisa Alber said...

Hi Clare!

Glad I happened to see Catriona's status on FB. I think I'm in increasing-my-vices mode. Should have no problem creating future characters. :-)

This is so true: "they become real as we write them"

I need to check in here more often. I've been a lurker, but now that I've actually met you and Catriona (and Robin, but we'd met previously) ... It's like a little party.

Procrastinating NaNoReMo--back to it! :-)

Cheers, Lisa

Unknown said...

I intend to not only keep the vices I have, but work on adding more to the list. All in the name of writing interesting characters....