Living in the country there are definite things that signal the arrival of springtime. Trees turning green, fruit trees blossoming, allergies, the charred remains of burnt ditch banks and grass fields. The early morning songs of birds as they awaken, the squawk of the damned chickens next door; did I mention allergies?
As with there being only a few things that truly scare me, there are few things that truly make me irritable…well okay maybe more than a few, but we aren’t going to talk about those right now. We are going to discuss how the runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, and scratchy throat make me truly insane. I have yet to find one over the counter medication that alleviates all those symptoms. I know I’m asking for a lot here, and I’m sorry but one can only sneeze out so much gunk.
I have however decided that not enough of our fictional characters suffer with everyday crap. When was the last time you saw either Becket or Castle complain of a simple headache which wasn’t the result of being whacked on the head? Or read about our favorite character trying every home remedy they can think of to stop the constant drip from their nose?
We don’t…I mean I don’t recall Lucas Davenport ever running out of tissues because he’s sneezed his head off after a drive down some country road. And I certainly do not remember the last time Kay Scarpetta, or any number of my characters woke up feeling miserable and looking just as crappy. Why is that?
Simple, we want to think our creations are perfect. Our at least I do. But with that thought, how do we as writers expect our readers to find our characters real. For instance Luce struggled with alcohol, gunshot wounds broken ribs and other assorted cuts and bruises as a result of bearings and her job. Not once is she brought down by massive cramps or head cold. WHY because it’s not sexy and it’s not riveting. Rayne Mathews deals with losing her brother to influenza but never suffers from a head cold. How realistic should us writers make our characters, how believable should their lives be? Interesting question. One I think I’ll explore with my newest characters, Eve Collins and Victoria O’Malley.
How many of our favorite characters deal with real life problems, RA, Asthma, Downs Syndrome, any one of the million others diseases out there? Is there something that says our characters have to be perfect? I want characters I can relate to, and are normal everyday people, (at least that’s what I want right now, tomorrow it may be different.)
Enjoy springtime…unless you suffer from allergies, in which case…ugh I don’t know, do what I’m gonna do take more allergy tabs. Until next time folks!