Saturday, November 23, 2019

Odd Characters

This month’s topic is about the oddest characters I have ever dreamed up and how did they fit into a story? I had to think about this, because what is odd? Everyone has certainly run into odd behavior in acquaintances. Matter of fact I think at one time or another I’ve exhibited odd behavior, but does that mean I’m only being eccentric, or am I weird, or bizarre? Odd might often be defined by each reader and their concept of odd. Could odd mean as in unmatched, which also implies a character might be singularly remarkable? I guess it is open to interpretation, but authors have to make characters relatable in some way. Sometimes it is only situations characters find themselves in that make them different. A character's oddity can add purpose to a storyline, or create a plot turn, or make them memorable to the reader. It all depends on their purpose in the story.

One of my first stories had some of my oddest characters: the heroine Jezlynn Chambers and the villain Morgan Dachs. It is a space opera odyssey, so just about anything goes. In The Black Angel series, Jezlynn is a person with six personalities, which she tries to hide. As one of the reputed mutineers on the Embassy Class spaceship Constant, she is publicly reviled for an event she does not remember. However, through several stories, the ship's first officer, Morgan Dachs, becomes an even odder character. The Constant was severely damaged during an attack but made it to safety with only a few survivors and those mostly from the embassy staff onboard. As the ship's first officer, and a member of a politically and militarily powerful family, Morgan became the hero of the situation. He reported eighteen crew members committed mutiny before the attack.

So Jezlynn's odd condition is partially a plot device in that she cannot understand who she was with no memory, so as she searches for her former crewmates, she is also searching for her own identity.

In truth, another ship threatened to finish the Constant’s destruction. Its chief officer demanded payment. A desperate and enraged Morgan beat Jezlynn insensible believing she knew there were ship repair components onboard, ignoring her claim none existed. Since no wealth existed on the crippled ship, Morgan traded crew members to be sold as slaves to save the ship. Jezlynn was one crew member traded since she probably wouldn’t survive. Just in case she did, and to prevent any possibility of her relating what happened onboard, before leaving the ship she received a huge dose of diamine, a dangerous drug known for slowing aging but destroying the mind. Two years later Jezlynn escaped from slavery, but by then her mind held six different personalities, and she had no memory of her past. Her reputation was ruined, and Morgan Dachs' protectors made sure her future was destroyed. By then Morgan was also using disamine in what he believed were safe dosages. Later he becomes the obsessed, deranged, stalker-villain of the series as shown in Devil's Due, the story where the truth becomes known.

I think readers realize from reality what the wide range of personalities exist and the length some individuals will go to achieve what they think they want, often influenced by their childhood and experiences, their genetics and overall mental health. Some do wondrous good, others unfathomable evil. As writers, we often exploit these characteristics in our characters to entertain our readers and to sometimes show how people can change and grow.

Please visit the following author's to see their take on odd characters:

Skye Taylor
Victoria Chatham
A.J. Maguire
Dr. Bob Rich
Connie Vines
Diane Bator
Beverley Bateman
Fiona McGier
Judith Copek


  1. I just finished reading a book with a person who had developed three personalities and one of them was a murderer but the other personalities were very different. Made for a really unique villain.

  2. Very interesting post. Like you I struggled with the definition of odd. Jezzlyn and six personalities definitely is odd and I like the premise that as she searches for former crew mates she's also searching for herself.

  3. Wow! Now those are two truly "odd" characters! Her with her multiple personalities, and him with his alpha-ambition, that makes him think that he can do "safe" amounts of a dangerous drug, and be unaffected. What a bizarre world they must inhabit! But then, authors can devise any kind of world they want to, right? Hurray!

  4. I sometime have trouble keeping track of one character, let alone one with six personalities!

  5. I have worked with people who had multiple personalities. In real humans here in the present, this is invariably due to a very young child being in a continuing intolerable situation. Some children are intelligent and creative enough to "become" someone who leaves during the torture (often sexual), leaving a specialised part of the personality behind. This works so well that more personalities are created to fill various special roles. I've read a middle-aged cult survivor write that her alters could fill a jumbo jet.

  6. Wow. A character with six different personalities is certainly odd. I felt sorry for Jezlynn as she seemed to be a pawn Morgan used for his own devices. This sounds like an exciting series (?) with lots of action and plenty of odd characters. But we like them, don't we?