Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Writing A Novel: Where The Boys Are

While my inspiration for my main character, Melinda, is pretty obvious (myself, duh), many friends have wondered where I came up with the idea for the male lead, Josh. That's a bit hard to answer because he was inspired by many different men in my life.

When I was first writing Josh, he was based solely on my husband, Jon. When he was in high school, Jon was a bad, bad boy, who did things like lock teachers out of classrooms. Yet he's practically a genius (and I'm not just saying that because he's my husband) and got almost a perfect score on his SATs. Still, Jon didn't much care for school or grades, or anything academic. He hated authority and prefered to learn on his own. Now he's the boss of his law firm, go figure.

Taking Jon's history into account, I created a smart, but mischevious character in Josh. He's talented and brilliant, but hates authority and is really kind of bored in school. So as Jon did, he acts up. In the first chapter, Melinda cites a long list of Josh's past misdeeds. Yep, those were all things that Jon did in real life!

As the story went on, though, Josh took on a life of his own and turned into a complex and unique character. He's an amazing trumpet player and is absolutely passionate about music (Jon is NOT a musician, though he did play violin in the 4th grade. Badly.). He's obsessed with classic rock (Jon IS a big classic rock fan and always puts it on the radio when we're driving). Josh does some things that are very good for Mel, but he also gets her into some situations which are, well, questionable. He's blunt and rude and naughty, but is also sweet and tender at times. In other words, he's human and makes a lot -- and I mean, A LOT, of mistakes.

That said, he was influenced by a few different people. I didn't date much in high school, but had many guy friends and I see traits of several in the character. I had one friend who was a great guy, but was extremely competitive and pushed me to my limits. We once got into a big fight at the bowling alley and I yelled at him, "You'll be sorry one day when I'm rich and famous, you a--hole!" Ahem. Not my finest hour. I had another friend who was always "concerned" about me because I tended to be very emotional. And I had another friend from band who encouraged me a great deal in my music.

Josh has elements of all of these guys -- and then has aspects of his personlity that are completely unique to him. That's the beauty of creating your own characters, though. Sometimes they turn out to be quite different from what you planned.

Please check out and review my novel REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.

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