Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for Essence of Olivia

Oh Olivia. How I adore her. I like overly rambunctious, hyper-active characters who love life and always want to have fun. To me, that is the essence of Olivia and I've always enjoyed her books because of this joie de vivre.

In my current WIP, I have two secondary characters who have the essence of Olivia (should I try and make that into a scent?). And in previous projects, I usually have at least one. But they are always secondary characters.

It occurred to me that I tend to have very saracastic, brooding, sad main characters. Always the too-smart, quiet, melancholy wall-flowers. The girls who are on the brink or the edge of wanting something more. The ones who admire the Olivias but are not totally sure how to get to that place in life. They are never the loud, take-charge of the world kind of people.

To put it in the terms of one of my favorite television shows, My So Called Life, I've always got an Angela Chase and never a Rayanne Graff in the leading role.

I thought how interesting it would be to write a main character with such a passion for life, a la Olivia or Anne of Green Gables. I may try it out next time around.

Do you tend to write a certain type of main character?


  1. I love Olivia too! I've always loved pigs for some reason, so when I realized such a cute, fun one had books, I was in!

    I'm usually like you though, as far as MCs go. It seems like when I write an Olivia, she's a bit TOO over-the-top and unbelievable. Plain people are more realistic to me... I need to work on that!

    - allison writes

  2. Oh man. Olivia is so cool. I love her too.

    My main characters probably are the same in certain ways. I am working on it though. I usually model them after people I know. And then change them up a bit.

  3. My characters are usually based on the personalities of people I know (or me) and then I exaggerate them. Normal is boring, so you have to make your characters memorable in some way.

  4. I am writing fiction for the first time, so I am still feeling my way with characterization.

  5. My MC is usually struggling to break free of family constraints.

  6. I tend to do what Sharon does: base the character on the personalities of people I have met, or observed. Olivia is such a hoot; my granddaughters always ask to watch her. I feel for her little brother, sometimes.

  7. My MCs tend to be in search for a sense of self, to be on the brink of some large self-discovery, and my stories often center on that. My MCs usually lack self-confidence and discover it somewhere during their journey through the story. (So, kind of like me, minus the discovery! Ha!) But I *do* have an idea for a story for a MC who is nothing like ANY of that; she's actually a pretty horrible person in the beginning, and the whole idea came out of me going, "You know, I should try to write a story with a main character who's nothing like me." I'm hoping to get to it one day, but it'll involve a fair amount of research, including some volunteer work (at a place that's about an hour away from my house, sadly, so it's nothing I can do right now). One day, maybe. :)

  8. I tend to write active (passive doesn't work for me) underdog characters. I like attitudes (with reason) and characters who overcome odds.