Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In Defense of a Character

Today's post is written in defense of a character who is quite a lot more non-fiction than she is fiction. 
Among all the criticisms of my books this is the one point I feel must be argued. I will ignore the people who question my knowledge of history (why do the books take so long to write??? R-E-S-E-A-R-C-H. I even researched the blasted toilets. Before going into Communications I took that fun and exciting class called "History and Historiography." And besides that, studying journalism does teach one the necessity of research, but I digress.) These slights against my intelligence and my competency can be brushed aside. And, when worded the way they are, that is exactly what they are. 
One reader, however, criticized the character of someone very dear to me. Calling her "too perfect." The character in question stands alone as the only non-fiction person of my personal acquaintances  to ever become fictionalized in my stories.
It started off as a joke and as a thank you. 
I started writing Filter while still attending university. The first 80 pages were trash and I junked them and started over. The beginning was written and rewritten and altered and scrapped numerous times. Finally, the true story began to emerge. A friend of mine who I had met in the broadcast studio at the university read the first several chapters for me. And demanded more. So by the time I came around to assigning a secretary to William Drexler III it seemed only right to give Abbie her own character. And, actually, when I designed the first cover of Filter (which was horrible, I know) I used her face. With permission of course. 
The Real Abbie
She was only supposed to be a minor character but Abbie, the real Abbie, is too full of life to be contained in a small box. 
A real beauty

I have never really met anyone quite like the real Abbie and can see why some might think she is too perfect to be real. She has a beautiful spirit but at the same time is totally quirky and bit sultry in her quiet way. Her wide eyes are beautiful and smoky, just like fictional Abbie's. And her brows are ridiculously perfect, her smile is bright and engaging. Honestly sometimes I just want to slap her, but she's so much fun and so sweet and compassionate I just hug her instead. 
The Real Abbie and I, 2010

 (You see, I am more like Rocky in someone like Abbie throws me off guard a bit.)
Taken by the real Abbie's boyfriend. That look I'm
giving is just for him. And, being self-conscious, I must
point out: this is twenty pounds ago.

She is so wonderful, in fact, that my youngest son is pretty certain he wants to marry her. Unfortunately for him, she already has a boyfriend who may not look like William (he has long, reddish hair, but he is tall with blue eyes) but is very much like him in character. 
The Frog and I, 2010.
The Real Abbie's William III-esque boyfriend.
His name really isn't "The Frog." He has a French
last name...actually his full nickname I gave him is
The Brawny Frog, because he is known for wearing plaid.
This picture was taken under duress. 

What is my point?
People like the fictional Abbie and William do exist. They are just few and far between. When people like this come into your life it is truly a blessing and the defense of their existence is worth a little bit of mouthing off at the critics. an aside, it seems that personality profile I had to take for a business class was spot on. I will indeed come to the defense of those I love before defending myself. Creepy. As an extra aside, I'm an INTJ. Tangents, I know. 

excerpt from Filter: Book One of The von Strassenberg Saga, available in paperback and for your Nook or kindle!

Mr. Drexler III leads me down a short corridor that turns and opens up to a lavish waiting area where, I assume, no one is ever kept waiting long. A well-dressed assistant hops up to take Mr. Drexler’s coat and dripping umbrella.
“Any calls, Abbie?”
“No sir,” the young woman replies, already moving toward a coatroom. “I set out refreshments in conference room three. Your father...” she stops herself, they’ve obviously had this conversation before. “The other attorneys are there already.” For the first time she pauses to look at me. Her expression tells me that this is not how she had imagined the infamous Miss von Strassenberg.
Mr. Drexler motions to me and nods to his assistant, “Thank you Abbie.”
“Yes sir.”


  1. Loved your post. I haven't read your book, but now I want to.

  2. Lol, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I've been stewing over it for awhile. Abbie is just so wonderful she deserves a post in her defense!

  3. I've come to realize that reviewers who claim my most selfless characters are too unreal are people who do not live in my 'real' life. At work and home, I surround myself with kind, loving, compassionate, and caring people. It would be impossible for me to write about a world where my main characters were anything less. In fact, doing so would make me feel like my writing suddenly became unbelievable.

    1. Agreed. Most of the Young Adult books I have read present a reality I can't connect with. Even as a teenager my life wasn't filled with negative experiences and negative people. They were certainly there but it wasn't the norm.