Have you ever read a book and the characters all seem the same? Their actions, their speech, their emotions. Pretty dull, right? Thank goodness we are all different. Although siblings are raised in the same environment, they have different looks, mannerisms, talents, principles, and interest. For the sake of realism, this diversity should be expressed in creating fictional characters. Think of the difference between Scarlet O’Hara and Melanie Hamilton.
I learned a valuable lesson while writing my new novel, Cruz Control. I made the mistake of stereotyping my biker gang members. But a fellow member of the Mystery Writers Critique pointed out how I needed to give each one a distinct personality. Although they are minor characters and do not play a major role in the story, I understood his point. With changes, my character Hammer became as mean as a snake. Grinder illustrated a meth addict who spouts mumbo-jumbo that makes sense to no one. Animal, a family man with a conscious, seems to be in the gang by accident or default. Pistol, a minion, is pushed around by other members. And Blaze is so fierce, she practically sets the ground to trembling. Although the two homicide detectives are partners, they are as different as night and day. Talk about good cop/bad cop, these guys fit the bill. Detective Cruz is abusive while Detective McCormick is sensitive and kind.
The process of diversifying my characters makes me think about people in general. We are all guilty of stereotyping based on heritage, looks, religion, and political persuasion. In truth, we are all different, but we have the same basic needs. No matter who we are or where we came from, we all want the best for our families in opportunities, education, safety, freedom, justice, and health. Do you agree? Feel free to leave your comments.
NOTE: CRUZ CONTROL is FREE on Kindle Nov. 25, 26, 27