Do Your Characters Sulk?

Yeah, I’m really asking this question. I’m asking because one of my main characters, one Declan O’Hara, isn’t cooperating with me. This is the second chapter in this novel that I’ve had to coerce him to do anything, because he’s not in a good mood and doesn’t want to work. He would tell you I’ve saddled him with a side character he really dislikes, but I would argue that he’s stuck with her at the behest of another of the main characters.

Whatever the argument, I’m over it. Working on this part of Ghosts of WarCry is torture. It’s slow going and kind of painful, and I’m about ready to just murder someone. Anyone. Don’t worry, not a real person (there’s enough of that going on, isn’t there?). Just one of my characters. Just to, you know, motivate them. Sounds pretty harsh, huh?

What do you do when your characters won’t work for you, though? How do you write them out of these tough spots? I’m not planning on offing any of my characters, especially a main one. Declan is one of my favorites (are writers supposed to have faves? I don’t even know), but he’s really making this hard on not only me, but himself. He’s being a jerk, really, and even though I think that is a part of his character, he’s also a decent guy. Maybe not at the moment, of course, but it’s there. Down deep. He is a Shadowliege, after all.

I guess I’m just whining, because up to this point, writing Ghosts of WarCry hasn’t been that hard. Oh, there have been a few spots where I know I’m going to need a lot of editing. But other than that, it’s been pretty smooth. So what do I do? Give in, let Dec have his way, and make the side character leave? I really don’t see that as an option at this point in the book, although I’m sure she’s resourceful enough to make it on her own. She’s not a bad person, either. Dec’s just not a fan.

We’ll just see how it goes. Declan will shape up. He always does. But he’s definitely more Tony Stark than Steve Rogers, which is kind of why I like him. He’s a rogue, and he’s already thrown one big monkey wrench into the story. I don’t like using the word “plot” anymore – “story” sounds so much better, and that’s really more what it is. A fantasy story, a story where anything can happen.

So I’ll let Declan sulk a little more, and see how he’s feeling in a day or two. I know, I know. We’re supposed to write EVERY DAY. But that doesn’t happen sometimes. Did you see my post about our Jeeps? I hear the dunes calling our names….



JEEP: Just Empty Every Pocket!


Back around 2007-08, I fell in love. Just like that, just driving down the road. And there she was, in a small used car lot down in Dalton, Michigan. Not real far from where I live. Oh, she was pretty. Dark blue metallic paint that glinted midnight in the hot summer sun. A family heritage that dated all the way back to her grandfather Willys in the 1940s. What was she?

A 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport, an XJ in Jeep lingo. Square, boxy, perfect. And I knew I had to have her. And not only that, I knew I’d found the brand of vehicle that I could pledge loyalty and love to for the rest of my life. We brought her home, and I named her Eclipse. Partly after an old horse of my mom’s that I rode when I was little, and partly after my favorite book in the Twilight saga (yeah, yeah, I went through a Twilight phase. Didn’t everyone? Don’t lie. You know you did). I loved that Jeep with passion. Nothing was more fun than driving down a dirt road after a long soaking rain and hitting every single mud puddle with glee. She was our main family vehicle, and we all fell in love with her.

And then in 2011 (I’m guessing here), our two kids and I were coming home from a run to MickeyD’s when a car pulled a U-turn right in front of me. With nowhere to go, the car crossing both lanes, we hit it dead square in the driver’s side door. I think I closed my eyes on the impact; I remember coming back to my senses on the side of the road, air bags blown, kids crying in the back seat, and thinking, “Did that really happen?” It did. The Jeep was totaled, but it saved our lives. It basically compacted when it hit the car, driving everything in the engine bay together into a little neat package. Oh, and the guy in the Grand Am? Well, they had to cut him out of the car with JAWS, and fly him by AeroMed helicopter to Grand Rapids, where he almost lost his leg. He got the ticket from the State Police.

I knew I had to have another Jeep. We found a 1994 Grand Cherokee, sky blue, that wasn’t in too bad of shape. A lot of miles, but hey – most of us have a lot of miles. A ZJ in the lingo of Jeepers, we named her Zoey (yes, we name all our vehicles – even our 1985 Travel Villa fifth wheel). By this time, my hubby was also driving a Jeep as a daily driver – Cap, a 2002 Liberty Sport (a KJ). We were a two Jeep family. Zoey lasted me about a year and half, and then hubby took over driving her as she required some special treatment to keep running, and I took Cap as my DD. Zoey went down the road after her engine seized, and along came Dan, our 2006 Silverado, and my hubby’s DD.

But after Zoey left, and having been a two Jeep family, we wanted something else. We started looking at Wranglers, and brought home a beat-up 1995 YJ Wrangler that had lived most of its life up on Drummond Island. With a loud four cylinder engine and square headlights (want controversy? Just ask Jeepers about square and round headlights sometime, but don’t say I didn’t warn you), Shifty O’Jeepers became my hubby’s favorite vehicle of all time. And that’s saying a lot, considering all the vehicles he’s had.

A couple of years after Shifty came home, I got the itch for another XJ. And I found the perfect one: a 1999 red Cherokee Sport with oversized tires and a light visor. She looked like a mini semi truck in her pictures on Craig’s List, and we went to look at her. Just getting back into the driver’s seat of that Cherokee brought back all the great memories I had of Eclipse, and I just had to have her. So Bernadette (named after the spunky little blonde Melissa Rauch plays on The Big Bang Theory) came home to stay, and I know now that I will always have to have an XJ. They quit building them back in 2001, when the Liberty took it’s place for the 2002 lineup. Oh, and we sold Cap to a young girl just finishing up high school, bringing another person into the Jeep family.

Bernadette came from Maryland, a place where the roads remain unsalted, and her body is beautiful. She’s getting her dune flag here in the mail in the next couple of days, and she’s wearing her purple ORV passes across her rear end with pride, just like her Star Wars, Denver Broncos, and Detroit Tigers decals. And when that flag gets mounted, look out! She’ll be hitting the Silver Lake Sand Dunes with her brother Shifty and helping us make even more great Jeepin’ family memories.

Because once you go Jeep, you never go back.