I've been working a lot of hours at the day job recently. I'll come home, walk the dog and give thanks that hubby likes to cook. I still manage to get my two hours of writing in, but lately I've found spending a little time in front of the television pretty insightful.
If you know me at all, you'll know I operate on guilt. My family can guilt me into doing anything.
So can my friends.
So can my boss.
In order to derive any enjoyment out of watching TV, I have to have a reason to watch.
God bless Hugh Laurie and House, MD for being on Monday nights. As I watched House, I began to digest all the quirky idiosyncrasies that give Gregory House top billing in the show. Grumpy, ill-dressed and crass, who would ever think him a hero? This show makes it so easy to recognize scene and sequel. Scene - House insults and bullies people to the point where you wonder why they keep him around. Sequel - quiet moments where House is alone and you see and feel his passion and pain.
Don't we all want to create characters this complex?
My favorite mannerism: When House makes a statement that you recognize he wants approval over or acceptance of, he leans heavily/ackwardly on his cane and looks at Cuddy, Wilson or whoever with his chin down and eyes level with his brow. I'm such a sucker for the lost puppy look coming from ultra-confident heros!
Okay, so after House, I'm ready to go write. I wait just a little too long and the theme music to Lie To Me comes on. Being a relatively new show, I don't know that much about it except for the fascinating subject matter. Would you want someone to know if you're stretching the truth or not by just looking at you?? I don't think so!
Dr. Cal Lightman captured my attention from the moment he appeared on the screen. The man does not know how to move slowly. He'll sit calmly forever and and a day, then Wham! the moment he stands up, he's off like the energizer bunny. You see, he can't do his job if he's not studying someone, and you can't study someone unless you're with them. His eyes are always moving. He's always moving, looking at a situation from every angle. I've got to remember this trait!
My favorite mannerism: He does not hide what he's doing. He openly watches facial expressions by tilting his head and angling around to see all the subtle muscles jerks. His expertise is in his unvarnished stare. 99% of the time so totally rude, but with him...very appealing.
Reba has been entertained audiences in various types of media for years. She sings, she dances, she acts. She writes, she directs...she does it all! And she always looks happy. I love watching her on Country Music Awards as a presenter and entertainer. She truly looks happy to be making other people happy.
So, what's her secret? Her impish ways? Her pixie appearance? Her hearty laugh? How could your heroine NOT be spunky if modeled after Reba? Plot out the right story and plop Reba in the lead and you'll have the crowd laughing.
My favorite mannerism: Her incredible look of disbelief when someone demonstrates absolutely no common sense. Eyes wide open, mouth dropped, figure frozen. You can just see the wheels turning in her little red head thinking "what turnip truck did you just drop off of?"
When you talk about characters, Lucille Ball will always reign the Queen of Comedy. It's tough to point out just one facet of her persona when she performs so many, so well.
The first thing that comes to mind is "Loooooocy!" whenever you see Lucy and Desi Arnez together. For years we were entertained by Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel in I Love Lucy. Her smile, her frown, her laugh and no one can match her cry. Obviously this is a little too over the top for a common, everyday heroine to portray, but think of the episodes of Lucy and the Chocolate Factory, or Lucy Saving Money, Lucy Wanting To Perform On Ricky's Stage, or any of a number of memorable moments.
Lucy became those characters and she was doggone good at it!!
My favorite mannerism?? All of 'em!!
Enough television shows and actors.
How about music videos? Now here is an industry designed to hype up image!
Breaks my heart that after so many years, Brooks and Dunn are breaking up. Beautiful voices melding together perfectly to create memorable music. I'm sure Ronnie Dunn is someone's hero, but to me, Kix Brooks is front stage.
Even though he rarely is.
In most of the videos they've produced, Kix is in the background playing guitar and belting out the song. Hat tipped low and incredible concentration on his instrument, he moves with controlled strength to show his emotions in every song. He smiles and the place lights up. Cowboy written all over that man.
My favorite mannerism: He steals the spotlight without moving a foot forward. Dark and brooding describe him to a tee, until he smiles and then you wonder what ever gave you the notion he could have an intense bone in his body.
Folks have talked about George Strait for as long as awards have been given out. I love George. I know all the words to all his 50 #1 Hits : ) His crooked smile has only grown more endearing over the years.
As a music entertainer, I can't more than swoon over his talent. As an actor, I can't really say "award this man an Oscar."
BUT, if you watch his movie Pure Country, and pay attention to all the riding scenes, you'll see only A-class Team Roper. My favorite laughs come during the scene where Harley's brothers take payment from Dusty to teach him to rope and ride. The man is pure poetry in motion! Now that's what I'm talking about! No stunt double for him!
My favorite mannerism: George Strait is the consumate cowboy, entertainer, rodeo star. Yet, he's humble as humble can be. You can see it in his slow manner and hear it in his soft voice. He's not out to show anyone up, he's just happy to be what he is.
I know I've gone on and on about cowboys, but I can't finish without mentioning my all time hero: Chris Le Doux. Be still my heart! Not only was he a National Finals Rodeo bronc riding champion, he was songwriter, a poet, singer and most of all a family man.
He put life into perspective. Where most cowboys would say their finest moment in life was winning the NFR championship, Chris said winning the honor gave his music credence. He wrote lyrics to touch the lives of people he'd never met with his songs of love, honor and of course, the thrill of the ride.
Chris Le Doux died in 2002 of a rare liver disease. The magic of the man lives on.
My favorite mannerism: You can look into his eyes and see ornery from the inside out. I know it's cliche, but the gleam in his eye gave warning something was going to happen.
When he tips his hat and says "yes, ma'am."
I'm melting just thinking about it.
Okay, enough from me. How about you? How do you create memorable characters? What trait do you allow to shine? Why does makes the reader keep thinking about your characters long after they've finished the book?
Share the quirks and habits that make your hero or heroine stand out in the crowd. Or, what television/video/music character or celebrity stays on your mind long after the show, movie, etc is over?
Blessings to all!
Blessings to all!