Characters Who Go Their Own Way

After a comment by Ruth (who is awesome and I’m incredibly grateful for their encouragement), I thought I’d talk a little about Darren, Jasmine and the problems of being a writer.

Darren is one of the first characters I ever wrote about. He was the irascible, no-nonsense, straightforward vicar in The Forgotten Village and went on to be a main character in Digging up the Past, and the three books in the Tales from the White Hart series. I never thought that he would have a romantic interest. I imagined him as having the looks and body of a Greek god and the emotional bandwidth of a shipping container.

Jasmine was introduced as a character in More Tales from the White Hart and was a ‘stray’, that is, a werewolf without a pack. She’d been chased out because she didn’t fit in with the expectations of the pack and didn’t want to marry where she was told. I had an idea that she would perhaps be part of the LGBTQ+ community and was excluded for that. She was beautiful, shy, defensive and prickly. I wasn’t planning on matching her up to anyone else.

Of course the characters took one look at each other and fell in love – hard!

When I’m working out characters, I’ll sometimes write conversations between characters to get a sense of them. It’s like a small studio where the characters come out and talk, move around and generally work things out. This isn’t the first time I had characters do something unexpected and once again I was trailing after them going, ‘wait, what?’ I was not impressed. Apart from anything else, Darren is far too old for Jasmine. The characters took no notice of me whatsoever.

I can see why they fell for each other. Darren absolutely adores Jasmine. She’s sweet, honest, straightforward and kind. She’ll get involved with trouble to defend someone who needs support. She never thinks about her looks or figure but just carries on being her. He loves that he can feel a little bit protective of her while trusting her completely. She has all the warmth that Darren struggles to show and she very much lights up his life.

Jasmine had a huge crush on Darren almost from the start. He’s old enough to be an authority figure while still being young enough and single enough to be attractive. There is something reassuringly stable about Darren. He may be a neat freak with no ability to demonstrate affection, but he’ll always be there for the one he loves. Darren is unwaveringly loyal, considerate and devoted. He is a rock who will never play games but will always be straightforward and clear. That is something that would call to Jasmine after the disruption and hardship she knew before they met.

I was a little worried about the age gap. To be fair, so was Darren. Jasmine didn’t have the confidence to say anything so was pining away for Darren while Darren was even grumpier than ever. However there was an unfortunate mix up with a love potion which meant that Jasmine and Darren became passionate lovers while under the influence and the rest is happy history.

I’ve known a few couples with significant age gaps. Some have been incredibly happy but one or two have been less than healthy. I think that as Darren is not likely to try and manipulate Jasmine, and Jasmine is certainly only after emotional security, this could be a good relationship. That doesn’t make for good stories, but I can see a few ideas in the distant future, if I ever get some proper writing done!

As for trying to show how people can suffer because of how they love, I thought I’d hold onto the idea that Jasmine was under pressure from many in the werewolf community for not conforming to what was expected. And at least she found happiness.

And I have had a fun time skimming through some of the older stories and enjoying the memories that have come back. It’s been a reminder of how much I enjoyed writing and perhaps I ought to get going again!

And a little news – I’ve been accepted on #HazardousToYourSanity for regular posts, so keep your eyes out for my series on British Folklore and Superstitions (some posts by other authors are a little spicier than I write, so you may like to use your judgement). And I have also signed up to October Frights again, run by the amazingly wonderful AF Steward, so while I won’t be posting every day in October as I have in the past, I hope that there will be some pleasantly spooky goings on. I’ve also had a few ideas about the next set of articles about Research and the Author and I hope to have them ready for you soon.

I’d love to hear requests, ideas or thoughts so please feel free to leave a comment.

Hugs and good health to all.

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