Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Writerly Wednesday: That thing they do

It started with Jodi Picoult’s “The Pact.”

It ended when I acquired an old copy of Terri Blackstock’s “Emerald Windows.”

No, wait, I can’t say it ended. I’m sure I’ll encounter more books that have a hero/heroine who is either an art student or professional artist. It feels like -- in the past several months -- I’ve already read a ton.

That’s not a bad thing. Not by any means. All but two – which will remain nameless – held my interest.

But it left me scratching my head and asking, “What’s the deal with all of the artists?”

It also left me wondering how writers go about choosing their characters’ occupations and interests.

Sometimes -- like in the book I just finished -- details of the MC’s occupation are so irrelevant that I forget what he/she does for a living.

Other times those details have a direct impact on the plot.

So tell me: What do your characters do? Do their jobs/hobbies play heavily into the plot of your story? Do you choose your characters’ professions? Or do your stories dictate what your characters do?


Kat Heckenbach said...

Funny, a lot of my characters are writers or artists, too. I think that's because it's what I am, so it just comes naturally. I do try to work it into the story if I can, though.

Journaling Woman said...

I pick jobs that I might like to do for my characters to do. I think that character's jobs are often artsy because that appeals to the writer. Did that all sound like I need a nap? Because I do.

KM said...

I usually choose a job that I think would be really cool, so I live vicariously through my characters. lol How else am I ever going to be a rockstar or a translator in the jungle when I can't sing and suck at foreign language???

Iapetus999 said...

I have one main character who's a (fake) psychic phone operator. Another is a milkmaid. Sometimes they're just students.

The villains usually have more powerful positions.

Christine Fonseca said...

I think my characters themselves tell me their hobbies, professions, interests. And while it typically is not critical to the story, it does shape they behavior..if that makes sense

KM Wilsher said...

Good post, Kat. Fun to think about. The "occupations" my characters have directly relate to their story. What they "do" allows for them to move around the story. But that's just my fantasy and post apocolyptic characters.
If I were writing a modern day tale, I think I'd look for a unique/fun job, just so I could see how that half lives.

Crimey said...

Funny enough, I just mentioned what my MC does on my blog yesterday. She's an office assistant with a B.S. in history, but there is little in the book regarding her occupation because when the book starts her life changes and that job isn't apart of her new life.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. Never really thought about it that much. Most of mine are college students...well, try to be since they're so busy hunting and slaying demons. . . LOL.

Great post.

arlee bird said...

In my WIP, due to the what the story is about, my MC & most of the characters are drug dealers and one is a former drug dealer who runs a mission for the homeless and others in need. Some of the other characters are dancers. The story is driven by the "occupations".