Character Privacy Issue
by Marlene Mesot
Imagination is a wonderful gift that allows us to examine ourselves in intricate closeness and expand our boundaries of self and our world with endless possibilities. Here I would like to apply this concept to the issue of privacy for the characters we create as authors. Is privacy even an issue? I think it is. After all, we are trying to make our fictional people seem as real as those whom we know and interact with daily.
There are only two sides to this question. Either you enjoy reading explicit sexual material, or profane material, or detailed horror descriptions—or you don’t. I fall into the latter category so this will be my focus. If you have no problems with the above mentioned areas then you won’t enjoy this article, unless you are looking to broaden your perspective.
These things are necessary for characterization you say? I don’t agree. We have this amazing tool called our imagination which can provide as much or as little detail as we are personally comfortable with. These things can be expressed in ways that are not graphic in detail, such as stating facts, using metaphors, etc.
Here is an excerpt from my novel The Snowball Effect, in which the two main characters from The Purging Fire go on a skiing winter honeymoon where mystery and danger follow. This will be the second book in my 4 Elements of Mystery series.
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His arms around her tightened momentarily and he murmured her name as she nuzzled his neck. Her hands rubbing his back under his shirt felt exhilarating. Alex gave no heed to the music that was playing or its subliminal suggestion “Don’t quench the fire” as his bride stirred his emotions. The heat of their desires rose swiftly with the speed of a burning fire. And the two became one flesh fulfilling their passions in the heat of the moment with fervent love.
Later, Missy turned her head upon his chest and reached over to stop the tape. He gently wiped perspiration from her forehead with his palm.
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We skirt over the character’s bathroom details pertaining to the toilet, unless the character is being sick and even that is not graphically described. So why graphically describe bed activities—or wherever these sexual exploits happen? Even though our characters aren’t real, don’t they deserve a certain amount of privacy as well?
About the Author
Marlene Mesot writes contemporary Christian mystery, suspense, romance, short stories and poetry. She has also written a one act play which is included as bonus material in her novel The Purging Fire.
Marlene Mesot, an only child, grandchild and niece from Manchester, New Hampshire, and deceased husband Albert, have two sons, two grandchildren and English Mastiff dogs. She is legally blind and moderately deaf due to nerve damage at premature birth. She has loved writing since early childhood.
Marlene holds a Bachelor of Education degree from Keene State in Keene, New Hampshire and a Masters in Library and Information Studies from U-NC Greensboro, North Carolina. Visit her website http://www.marlsmenagerie.com.