I wanted to do a brief write up where I wrote a series of posts about each of the main characters in Threads That Bind and give you a bit of insight into who they are and how I wrote them. Since this is really Madison’s story, I figured I better start with her.
(SPOILER ALERT. If you haven’t Read Threads That Bind, be warned that this post will contain information about events that happened in the book.)
My main goal when writing Madison was to make sure she had a unique voice. I wanted her to be witty, clever, and a bit sarcastic. I decided that I would focus on her inner thoughts and dialogue as a way of portraying that part of her character. Every time she would use a simile or metaphor, or any kind of visual image, I would write the cliché version, and then stop and think up possible alternatives that were more original or exaggerated. Here are a few of my favorite Madison lines:
- “Had there ever been a worse first kiss in the entire history of dating? It was like the Hindenburg of first kisses.”
- “The ice cream tasted like a combination of sweaty feet and rotten fruit. Ok, so I don’t actually know what sweaty feet or rotten fruit taste like, but something was seriously wrong with it.”
- “I wondered if Einstein had considered the rate of spreading gossip when declaring that nothing was faster than the speed of light.”
- “Wait a minute. Now that I finally need your help with some scheming you suddenly start channeling Ghandi?”
- “The way she was being treated, you would think she had been wounded while pulling small children out of a burning orphanage in the middle of an earthquake.”
- “When I had watched Rhys use his sword it was a deadly dance of grace and precision. My approach was more like the Hokey Pokey done by preschoolers.”
What was interesting is that as I immersed myself in this world I had made, with these characters I had invented, Madison began to feel very real to me. I would write a line and realize that even though I thought it was clever, it wasn’t something she would say. I would then have to go back and change it.
While I wanted Madison to be witty, at the same time I knew she needed to be insecure and vulnerable. I didn’t want a raving egomaniac as my viewpoint character – I wouldn’t have been able to stand her, and she wouldn’t be very sympathetic. I wasn’t looking to create a teen-girl version of Dr. House; I wanted someone who was relatable and you could care about. So, consequently a lot of her humor is rather self-depreciating rather than openly mocking others. Most of the mean thoughts she has, she keeps to herself.
Madison’s transformation from ugly duckling to swan was not something I intended to have in the book. I made a passing reference to her having lost weight and her senses heightening in the first chapter I wrote (which is now Chapter 3: A Kiss Like No Other). The response I got from my alpha readers was unanimous in wanting to know the back story of how all that happened. So, I took a couple of steps back and fleshed out all the events leading up to where I had started the story. I’m glad I did because the story really helped set up Madison as a character so that when the kiss happens, you know her well enough to care what she is going through.
What I really love about Madison as a character is her understanding of duty and willingness to step up and sacrifice her wants for the good of the many. She quickly understood what kind of responsibility had been given to her and accepted that responsibility. She is still a teen girl, and as you will see in Unbound she still has a desire to fit in and be normal – a desire that is not met by being a Berserker.
What about you? What do you like (or dislike) about Madison? Any favorite lines from her?