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Passionate characters in fiction and life

Model writing postcards, Carl Larsson, 1906

Tomorrow night, I’m scheduled to do a workshop at a local senior’s centre on “passion in our lives”. I’ll be talking about my characters from McShannon’s Chance – about Beth’s passion for painting, Trey’s passion for Thoroughbreds, and their passion for each other. It’s got me thinking about the many meanings of ‘passion’ and how it applies to the characters I write.

In real life, we’re all attracted to people who have passion in their lives, whether for their work, their family, an art or an idea. For me, the same is true in fiction. Characters draw me in and hold me if they come across as passionate people.

Sometimes that passion can be in the form of hate. Think of Moby Dick. Sometimes it’s a passion for justice, as in many classic Westerns. It can be a passion for freedom, as with Cat in Judith James’ Highland Rebel. For my Beth, it’s her art; for Martin Rainnie in McShannon’s Heart and Alice O’Neill in Shattered, it’s music. These are the things I latch on to when I’m getting to know my characters.

In some romance novels, the sexual passion between the hero and heroine is not just the main element, it seems like the only element. And some of these are still great stories, but they have to be extremely well done. So far, I’ve tried to give at least one of my main characters another passion as well. I just find it easier to know them and write them that way.

I’m really looking forward to the session last night. I’m sure the audience will have some great stories to tell about the things and people they’ve been passionate about in their lives. Who knows, I may come up with a few new story ideas. People of blogland, what do you think? Is it important to you that fictional characters live with passion?

One Comment

  1. Ann Stewart
    November 9, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Passion shapes personalities, so yes, I agree! I also believe the author’s passions seep into their stories in the way of their voice. The deeper the passion, the stronger the voice.
    Good luck tonight! Don’t forget to share the good stories.