Monday, January 23, 2012

Favorite Character Blogfest

I signed up for the Favorite Character Blogfest hosted by the absolutely awesome Laura Josephsen.

So, let me tell you a little bit about the character I'm highlighting. His name is Jori Virtanen (that's pronounced Yo-ree). He's a 24-year-old model who hates his job and dreams of being an artist. He's been through some tough times in his adolescence--things that continue to haunt him into adulthood. His friendships with the main character and her love interest change his life.

He wasn't in the first draft of the book. I created him to help with a plotline I thought wasn't quite working. After input from my critique group, I realized he didn't fulfill his intended purpose. I considered writing him out again.

Essentially, killing him.

Refusing to allow him to exist.

I couldn't do it.

The little stinker had weaseled his way into my heart. In fact, he's going to be the main character in the sequel I'm planning for my NaNo project this year. My tale used to have an epilogue, but once I realized Jori needed to have his story told, too, I've since removed the epilogue. It gave away too much about what happens to him.

Here's my main character's first introduction to Jori. It begins on a ship, docked in Seattle, preparing to embark on a 28-day cruise to New Zealand.

... I sighed, standing in the warmth of the sunlight and imagining a run on the treadmill with nothing but the Pacific Ocean before me.

“Nice, yes?” asked a deep voice behind me.

I spun around and couldn’t help a soft gasp. Before me stood the most beautiful human being I’d ever seen. He was a little taller than me, probably close to my age, and must have been a direct descendent of some Scandinavian god with his pale blond hair and light gray eyes.

He raised his hands. “I didn’t mean to startle you.” His voice had just a hint of an accent I couldn’t place.

 I searched his shirt for a ship logo. “Do you work here?”

“Me?” His eyebrows rose. “No, I’m a passenger. My name is Jori. Jori Virtanen.”

“Nice to meet you, Jori.” I shook the hand he extended. “I’m Lyn North. Where are you from?”


I blinked. “Seattle? Your accent . . .”

“Ah, yes.” Jori’s smile made him even more beautiful, and I had to squeeze my jaw shut to keep it from falling open. “My family emigrated from Finland about nine years ago.” He glanced at the wall of windows and said, almost to himself, “It will be interesting to do some sketching in here.”

I followed his gaze to the view of the dock outside. “Are you an artist?”

He hesitated. “I hope to be someday.”

I eyed him, curious. In my experience, beautiful people tended to be self-absorbed. Yet he seemed . . . humble. “Are you going to sketch the scenery in New Zealand? Wouldn’t it be faster to fly?”

Jori chuckled. “I do plan to do some drawing there.” A group of people who’d gathered at the salon registration desk outside the gym drew his attention. “I like to sketch people.” He turned back to me. “What better place than a cruise ship for people?”

Remembering what I’d come to the gym for, I asked, “Have you seen any of the staff around?”

“I noticed someone here just before you came.” Jori’s eyes did a quick scan from my head to my feet, and I felt a surge of irritation. After the pain of the last year I wasn’t ready to enter the meat market in spite of what Elle thought. He asked, “Are you interested in some of the classes?”

“I want to see if it’s okay to use that open area by the door.” I nodded to indicate the location, taking a step toward the exit.

One of his eyebrows rose. “Are you a dancer?”

“No, I want it for karate practice.”


At that moment a man entered the gym, and I pointed, “Is that the staff guy?”

Jori nodded.

“Well, it was nice meeting you.” I raised my hand in farewell. “I need to go talk with him and then meet my friend.”

Jori glanced at my left hand. “Your boyfriend?”

“No.” I edged away. “A girl friend, like a sister.”

“Are you going to the departure party?” he asked before I could get away.

“Uh, yes. For a little while.”

His pale eyes glittered. “Then I will look for you.” He did a little bow and left.

With a frown, I watched him leave. That incredible specimen of male perfection couldn’t have just been coming on to me. I rubbed my temple. No way was I telling Elle about the encounter.

Have you ever had a character take over a story?

Please check out the posts of these other blogs:
1.Angie Lofthouse5.Gyran Gymble9.K. Writerly
2.Tracey Joseph6.tara tyler10.Morgan Feldman
3.Christine Rains7.Charity Bradford

4.Donna K. Weaver8.Julie Daines


  1. I have a WIP, I had to set aside because of two characters taking over. Originally, it was supposed to be about a dead boy who neighbors a little girl that he tries to help. The ghost boy invited an angel and then a demon. And those two ran with it. So I haven't figured out what to do with them because they ended up fighting for the STAR position. OMG.

  2. I had a minor character that become the star of a different novel that I wrote for NaNo last year. The two stories had no connection to each other, they're not even the same genre. She just needed her own stage :-)

  3. I had a walk on character that very quickly became pretty important to the plot and has a major role in the sequel. I love these characters. They're so real.

  4. i love the side characters that steal the scene & refuse to leave! great job =)

  5. Great excerpt, Donna, very nicely done. Answer to your question: yes, yes, I have. Maybe I'll tell y'all about it someday....

  6. Yes, in a rewrite of a manuscript I'd edited last year. A very minor character just grew into a larger part with each page, and is very pivotal to the story now. It's fun to see that happen when writing.

  7. Hurray for Jori, hanging in there and earning his own sequel, to boot!

    Yes, I've had characters who appeared out of nowhere and took over things. One that springs to mind is a doctor who appeared 2/3 of the way through a manuscript, just to save a main character from poisoning. He had more personality than I counted on, refused to get out of the story, and ended up with a role to play in the climax. Turns out, I needed him, and he was never part of my original plan for the story.

  8. Yeah I've had a couple come about like that, just out of the blue. Way better for it too. Great cat pics too..haha

  9. I think it's a good sign when a character tries to take over. It means they have a strong personality and something to say, which really helps make the writing easier. :)

  10. How can you kill the most beautiful human being alive?!? :D LOL! No, I had this happen in my very first MS. A secondary character took off, all my betas absolutely loved him, so by the third installment, I'd given him a starring role. It happens. :o) <3

  11. YES!

    I like this guy already. When/where can I read more?

    Your plotting for NaNo 2012 already?

    I'm such a slug.

  12. Haha, I really enjoyed that. You did a great job setting up his accent so that I automatically heard it without you having to use weird word versions in your dialogue. Great job!

  13. Great excerpt! I love secondary characters that take on a life of their own :)

  14. That's great! I can see how you want to keep him. Very nice!

  15. Yes! I have that happen all the time! They just come to life and make their presence essential. So glad you didn't take him out!

  16. Jori is intriguing. I've had characters sneak up on my like that. It's like they have a will of their own and won't let you write for them what you intended. It's one of the reasons I never manage to stick to a plot outline during a first draft.

  17. I'm glad you stuck with it and decided not to write him out! I think often times it's the ones who give us the most trouble that we end up being most satisfied with (probably because we spend way too long thinking about them). Nice work, and awesome cat pictures (I love the one with the black and white cat at the computer)!

  18. I've had one or two that try to take over from time to time. They'll wait til your backs turned and then jump in and insinuate themselves into the plot that it's hard work to dig them out.

  19. I've had a couple characters steal the show, and like Jori, they're a strong character that can't be shut up. It's like that person who walks into the room and all eyes automatically go to him/her and stay there.
    Thanks for sharing your excerpt!

  20. Aww, man! I want more. :(

    Jori seems like a lot of fun. Great work, Donna! :)

  21. Sounds like a great story. I love a good romance. Good luck!

  22. I'm glad you didn't kill Jori. :D

    I haven't had a character (beyond the mc) take over a story. Any that have the potential are given fewer scenes.

  23. Sounds dreamy. I like Seattle too since I grew up in that area. Best of luck with the blogfest!

  24. I'm with Stina - when this happens and I love a secondary character too much, I trim back the scenes make him/her less important. And hopefully use them later.

  25. yeah - I had a character who was supposed to be just on the sidelines. So one day he tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hey, I'm a person too ya know, with my own life." I sighed and told him okay and now the character is almost the main one. He suckered me into it

  26. Very interesting, you didn't go all heavy-handed with it, which was excellent :) I liked how you snuck in a lot of details, and I am curious why he seems humble, because of his job. A mystery I'd like to read to solve :)

    ...though my dyslexic-brain gave up trying to figure out how to pronounce his last name.

    I think my comic-relief characters have a tendency to take over 'cause my stories are often pretty dark so that breath of *lightness* is such a relief to write, I kinda run with it ;)

  27. Oooo. I like him. I love those characters that refuse to leave or do what you want them too. They're usually the most interesting. =)

  28. If I were Lyn, I'd be suspicious, too. Gorgeous men don't come on to me. Like, EVER. So I can totally relate. (^__~)

    Jori sounds very mysterious, at least to Lyn (and thus to me, the reader). Very nice!

    I'm so glad I found your link at Laura's blogfest!

  29. I love the way Jori wouldn't give up the fight. I've never experienced this for some reason, but then I've never threatened to let a major character go.

  30. I love it when characters that were supposed to be transitory nest in a writer's mind until their story is told. Good for him that you're giving him a chance for the spotlight!

  31. Nicely done! I started swooning when I read that. I'd definitely read on.

    Count me in as a new follower. I hope you can drop by my blog!


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