Are you feeling lucky?

Originally posted 13.01.12

Watch out for the axe wielding murderer behind you! It is Friday the thirteenth after all.

While this may just be the name of a film series to many of us, to others it appears to hold great symbolism. One of my co-workers blamed everything that went wrong today on the date as it is ‘bad luck’. My scoffs were greeted with the usual tripe of there are many things in the universe we don’t understand. This then descended into debate on superstition, religion and holistic medicine.

While the discussion itself left me despairing, it did get me thinking again about the characters in my writing. I typically give them the belief set I have and have not really explored this avenue of characterisation. I thought how fun it could be to add little foibles to my creations. The world renowned scientist who has to have his lucky childhood smurf with him and who falls apart without it. Or how about a hardened war veteran who is afraid of white cats with black paws? Little traits which add reader interest and highlight the characters’ strengths and weaknesses.

Alternatively, they could be used for plot development. Need a reason to send a character somewhere? Have their fortune teller tell them to go! Observance of religious festivals gives rise to all sorts of requirements for people, which could easily be used to advance plot.

This and my recent posts have shown me that although I know my characters, there is so much I don’t know about them, which is true of people in the real world as well now I think of it. To aid myself I am going to create character sheets, a throwback to my Dungeons and Dragons days, which will include things like favourite food, religious attitude, likes and fears, etc. Whilst many things will not be needed – I’m not going to force stuff into the narrative just for the sake of it – it will help me add more realism to my characters and to allow me to get a better feeling of how they may react in a situation.

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