· Tom Jennings is a HUGE Character! ·
Here’s a brief blog on writing. This one’s about creating fictional characters.
I use character driven literary fiction as my vehicle to address stigma, identity, and self-discovery, but my goal is to entertain the reader, never preach.
The process of getting to know my characters is an enjoyable, ongoing experience as I discover the many layers of their personalities. Recently I was asked by a friend if he was in my novel. I smiled, said “no,” and explained that my characters have a little bit of everyone I meet or imagine. Take Tom Jennings, one of the main characters in Taking Back the Bullet. He would be an example of “Write what you know,” since he is a police officer, and I had a lengthy career in law enforcement. But physically he is obese while I’m a tall, skinny scarecrow. Once I added two hundred pounds to Tom’s frame, he no longer resembled me. Instantly, he morphed into his own larger-than-life persona.
Another fun part of writing, is learning the name of the characters. My characters generally audition for their titles. My choice of the name Tom Jennings is right out of early twentieth-century Reno County, Kansas, history. He wasn’t obese, but he was a respected sheriff who died in office. I only took, or borrowed his name, after I felt the moniker fit my fictional character.
Once you get to know a person, you often learn they have a nickname or two. That’s what happened to me with Jennings. Being obese, Tom is known to his friends as “Taz.” He’s the Tasmanian devil who eats voraciously, “LB” or “Lunchbox” from his days of eating free food when he worked in the Cottonwood County Jail, and the lesser-used moniker, “Pork Chop,” for his love of pork. But even a name can have different meanings. While a police peer might use “Pork Chop” affectionately with Jennings, a detractor might apply the term in a derogatory manner and add “Oink! Oink,” as pig-like sound effects.
What names or nick names have you created for your characters? What’s their story? You can respond by using the contact the author box.
Until next time, happy reading and writing!