Hi, Gang. Craig with you again today. I’ve been struggling with what to post. This comes from having been here since day one. I’ve already posted a lot of stuff for your consideration. This time, I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind.
As of this writing, I have nineteen publications, plus a selection of anthologies I’ve appeared in. My goal was to offer something for everyone, as long as they wanted speculative fiction. There are short stories, novellas, novels, and series. At some point, I’ve created a lot of characters.
I always try to avoid low hanging fruit and twist things up into something new and different not only for my readers, but for myself. I’ve reached a point where I’m starting to notice a few similarities. Some of this is author voice, but I want to be cognizant of it.
To explain I need to mention some of my work. Not in a promotional way, but for context. I’m currently writing a Space Opera that I’d ultimately like to work as a trilogy. It’s sort of traditional to come in at that length. (Now that Gwen taught us we have the attention span of goldfish, it might be a mistake. Ha ha!)
My main character is Percy the Space Chimp. He’s kind of caustic and paranoid, because Space Chimps are mistreated in larger society. However, I’m seeing a resemblance to one of my other characters known as The Hat. I don’t see this as a huge problem, because the hat really can’t have a character arc. His ongoing series requires him to remain the same to keep the series going.
Percy offers me some relief, in that he can arc before the end. As his story wraps up, he can be a better person than he was in the first book. Still, I’m trying to be aware of the similarities and include small differences. I gave Percy a digestive problem that required him to face one of his phobias. He now eats bananas for the fiber, even though he was mercilessly persecuted for being an ape prior to the story. I’m also working up a near-love interest for him in the form of a disabled veteran woman. Something the hat hasn’t been involved in… yet.
I’ve reached the point where Percy is about to visit a warehouse on a space station. One of my goals here was to include an entire society of aliens that run the warehouse. I want them to be comedic, and give readers a chuckle as Percy gains what he needs.
In all my thoughts about this society, the aliens keep coming out like root monsters in space. These were some uber-popular characters of mine, but their story is over. I haven’t written a word about the aliens yet, but I’m concerned.
Is it enough to be cognizant of these issues, or is there a good way to avoid writing the same characters with different names? This might be a place where character bibles or something could really help me.
Am I putting too much thought into this? Hallmark makes a fortune by recycling the same characters and stories in different environments.
I suppose I could take characters down a completely different path, but I’m not the one to tell those stories. Speculative fiction is a big field, and I have no desire to dive into romance or other genres.
I’m letting it slow my progress, but have no lamentations about that. The last couple of years were tough. Goals and deadlines added to my stress. This story will get told when it’s time, but I’d like to tame my own demons on this front.
Do those of you with a lot of publications ever have this worry? Am I needlessly concerning myself with this. Does this post make you think about your own work in a new way?