So Mary and I talk about our characters all the time. The two of us in public are Sam and Jory. The platonic relationship she wrote to most capture our dynamic is Julian and Cash. I can even tell you her top five favorite characters (of mine:-) in order. On a good day, when the list is solid, I can give you the top ten.
I can tell you the very distinct things that make her Logan different from Sam different from Rand. (Of the three of them, you want to fuck up in front of Logan–Sam doesn’t suffer fools gladly and Rand is straight up an asshole. Sayin’.)
And she can tell you the little tiny bits of me that are in every character I write.
There’s a Jace in me. (Well, yeah, I wish, but that’s not what I’m talking about.) Parts of Jace are in me. (DAMMIT!) I am very like Jace, from Gambling Men, in some ways.
Of all my characters, you would least expect to see a similarity between me and Jace.
If you’ve read Gambling Men, you know that Jace is sort of a shark– and sort of an ass. Jace is fierce, and he doesn’t like being crossed, and he likes being the boss. He gets snarly when he’s thwarted, and he’s toppy and cold blooded and he needs Quentin because Quentin reminds him not to be an asshole and that sometimes he really is a human being.
Most people do not see the Jace in me. Of course, when I was actively in teaching, before I accepted the fact that as a big woman who laughed I’d never be taken seriously or respected in pretty much any way, my colleagues would have said Jace and I were twins separated at birth. I was ambitious, I did have ideas, and I did have the impetus to see them through. I started the creative writing program and the AP program, and before the big Vainglorious Prickweenie, I did a damned good job implementing them (and I have test scores to back me up.) I have some of those same qualities now–but I try harder to squash them.
Jace hurts feelings, and he leaves people behind. Quentin was the only person he consciously let keep up, and that was because Quentin could hold his own 95% of the time. Jace is irrationally attached to his own opinion, even when it’s not good for him, and he likes drawing blood, feeds on it, and is perfectly content being the biggest, baddest shark in the tank.
I think these qualities are dead sexy qualities in a character, but I don’t particularly like them in myself, so I’ve gotten good over the years of letting my inner Quentin win those battles. “It isn’t life threatening, no lives will be lost, back off.” Quent can be stubbornly insistent, and I listen to him because he’s a nice guy, and most of me respects niceness.
Well, there’s this thing I’m working on.
Now, when I bought the yarn for this project–for me– I thought, “Geez, this is ugly yarn. I don’t understand my attachment to these colors. They’re just sort of funky and antique-y, and usually I sway toward Monet colors, or Manet or Van Gogh. I’m not usually a fan of the off-kilter boldness of Matisse, and gray/brown with bright gold, fuchsia and lime green highlights seems… well.
That can’t be me, can it?
Ah-ha, my self said to myself. These ARE your colors. They’re just your subliminal colors. They’re your JACE.
Complete accident, myself assured my self. I just bought this scarf. I must have been in an icky color sort of mood.
Well, today I was reaching for my fall clothes. You know– because it’s much cooler now? And I came up with a sweater.
In the same colors.
And I have to face the facts.
It’s like when my inner snark-princess swims to the surface and starts taking a bite out of the slower fish in my way. These colors are a part of me.
These are the colors of my inner Jace.
Goddammit. I’m going to have to embrace them.