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My Favorite Character I’ve Ever Written

This post is part of the brand new WIP Wednesday Link-up For Writers. The theme this week is “My Favorite Character I’ve Ever Written.” Join the link-up and show off your current projects! 

My Favorite Character I’ve Ever Written

Confession: You know when people debate whether an author is a character-driven or plot-driven writer? I’m definitely character driven. I have a nasty habit of accumulating stockpiles of characters that I love to bits and then finding myself utterly incapable of thinking up a story to put any of them in.

My writing process is basically:

  1. think up character
  2. profess undying love and adoration for said character
  3. mentally catalogue every conceivable detail about the character, including strengths and weaknesses
  4. figure out how to ruthlessly exploit those weaknesses within a story (example: this girl has fear of loneliness? HOW CAN I ISOLATE HER FROM EVERYONE SHE LOVES??)
  5. begrudgingly brainstorm how I might use the character’s strengths in moments of triumph, because I guess they have to win sometimes. 
  6. retroactively find a way to thread all these pieces into a coherent plot

Of all my characters that are actively wrecking havoc in my WIPs, I have to say, Ratter is one of my absolute favorites.

ratter

Ratter, a Moodboard. (All images found on Pinterest)

All Right, Who Is This Twerp?

Ratter is a character in my fantasy series WIP, which I talked a little bit about last week. He shows up midway through Book 1 as the proprietor of a shady underground market/bazaar. He’s a scrappy little guy who basically swaggers around his shopping mall of thieves and lowlifes, the theiviest and lowest-life of them all.

I heart him.

His market resides in this snowy mountain village, where the buildings are all arranged around massive fire pits. The fire pit in the very center is enchanted, and stepping into the hot flames leads you to a cold, damp staircase that trails down into the underground cavern. Here, all kinds of noxious potions, poisoned weapons, protective amulets, and other strange (and often stolen) goods are sold. Ratter is an unexpected resource for my main characters, as he’s got a handsome income, access to subterranean tunnels fit to sneak through, and a little battalion of wrong-doers quite literally indebted to him, who he can send out into the world to spy or fight or do basic house renovation–whatever is required.

Ratter was never supposed to be in the books at all, and basically infiltrated this series like a fungus. 

Ratter’s spread through these books basically went like this:

  1. Hmm. This market in Books 1/2 needs a proprietor. I’ll write a little character for that.
  2. I have written ten pages of dialogue for this character and know their entire backstory. It has been three minutes.
  3. I’ll bet there’s a way to bring Ratter back for a scene in Book 6. That’ll be a nice callback, and he’s so funny.
  4. And cute. He’s actually really cute.
  5. You know, Ratter could show up for a couple paragraphs in Book 4. Just to. You know. Show his cute face.
  6. If he’s going to be in Book 4, he might as WELL be mentioned in Book 3.
  7. Uh oh. He is now in almost every chapter of Book 5.
  8. And now he’s in almost every chapter of Book 6.
  9. WHAT IS HAPPENING. WHY IS HE SO CUTE NOW IN A HUGE CHUNK OF BOOK 4? IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE TWO PARAGRAPHS!
  10. WHY IS RATTER SUDDENLY A MAIN, PLOT-AFFECTING CHARACTER WITHOUT WHICH THE STORY WOULD NEVER LOGICALLY SUCCEED? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN. WHERE DID HE COME FROM. *RIPS OUT HAIR* *FINDS YET ANOTHER PLACE TO FIT RATTER IN*

That’s … pretty accurate.

Do you have any characters like this? That cropped up one day and not only seamlessly fit themselves into the story, but started popping up all over the place like some kind of literary whack-a-mole game??? 

Snippets (AKA, the Fun Stuff)

To close, because I can’t leave without sharing snippets, a couple excerpts of my favorite Ratter moments:

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this last one takes place in a different book from the above, when Ratter and Ol get along slightly better:

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gushes Alright, that’s enough. (I had loads more screenshots I had to force myself not to post. I DON’T CARE. THIS WEEK IS ALL ABOUT CHARACTERS YOU LOVE, AND I LOVE THIS GUY TO PIECES.)


I have a question for all you lovely writers out there: who is your favorite character you’ve ever written? Leave a comment below, OR, if you’d like to make a blog post/instagram loveliness/twitter rant about your beautiful, intelligent, scrumptious character, join our WIP Wednesday link-up!! 

In any case, happy writing!

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4 Comments

  • Reply Judy Dodge Cummings

    I like Ratter already. My favorite line from your passages is when Ol straightens Ratter’s neck tie and Ratter leans in. Such a small, but telling detail.

    August 31, 2016 at 12:55 pm
    • Reply happywriter

      Thanks, Judy! I love that detail too, it hints at so much.

      September 2, 2016 at 3:14 am
  • Reply Rain @ Ivyclad Ideas

    The greatest characters always waltz in unannounced, plan to hang around for a few pages, and end up hijacking the plot so that they can stay forever.
    I ALWAYS have WAY TOO MANY characters. 😉 I’m definitely a character-driven writer.

    August 31, 2016 at 5:41 pm
    • Reply Happy Writer

      I TOTALLY agree. The best characters seem to spring out of your brain fully formed like Athena bursting out of Zeus’s head. 😀

      September 7, 2016 at 3:03 pm

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