There’s a challenge in feeling empathy for a character you’re writing when you’re certain they’d annoy the hell out of you if you knew them in real life. That was Richie for me. He first arrived in my head as a spoiled pain in the ass, the kind of person who heads out into a post-apocalyptic wasteland wearing brand new shoes, armed with a top quality chef’s knife that he’d never used to prepare food. I fought with myself to give him positive qualities, but by the end, I was pretty glad I gave him a chance and got to know him. He was tougher than I gave him credit for. He surprised me.
You can see my aesthetic reference board for Richie on Pinterest.
From my character notes
Fun with a capital FU. Spoiled, hedonistic, but endearingly sincere. Sees good in everything and everyone because everything and everyone has always been good to him. Generous, open and kind of naive. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth and one in each hand, on a bed of silver spoons. Would have sex with you and three of your friends, buy you the best breakfast you’ve ever had, but won’t remember your names. Weapons-grade bad influence. Lives in the moment. Don’t ask why or why not, just do the thing.
From the book
He had also not expected the stacks of corpses that greeted him, but then no-one expects a stack of corpses. He hadn’t stopped to think about who might have stacked the corpses, whether or not they were still there, or what they might do to him, but he was glad of the various knives he’d tucked into convenient places in his clothes, just in case.
He’d bought the ridiculously expensive set of chef’s knives when he’d moved into his penthouse, even though he couldn’t cook to save his life. Now he figured they would be decent weapons, should the need arise. It had all seemed like quite the adventure when he’d first set off from home, fuelled by a line of something he’d been hanging on to, just in case.
His last attempt at traversing the Forth was to cross the old road bridge on foot because at least it had walkways that might be clear. The walkways, however, were as impassable as the rest and for much the same reason. He stood still for a long time, not knowing where to go or what to do, feeling suddenly, impossibly alone and utterly hopeless.
Everything was wrong. His previously endless well of optimism had finally run dry and the emptiness left behind ached in a way that was completely new to him. He wanted to tell someone about it, but there was no-one to tell. He wanted someone to fix it. Fixing things had never been his strong suit.
All this, all the mess and death and driving and walking and stupid bleeding feet, all for nothing. Having reached what felt like the point of no return, or at least the point of no potential improvement, Richie gave up. Sort of.
Car Thieves will be available to read online and download free in February! Find it here on 9th, and DeviantArt, Tablo, Wattpad and Instafreebie on 16th.