Thursday, March 01, 2007

Character birthdays

I'll get to Part 2 of Requiem for a Slacker tomorrow when I have more time to write (going back to the old job today to help my replacement with the dreaded taxes). Besides, today's date brings up a topic some authors give a lot of thought to: character birthdays.

I don't usually pick a specific birthday for my characters unless it's pertinent to the plot. Sometimes I have an idea of a time of year or month when they were born.

OKAY, OKAY, I CONFESS: sometimes I think about what astrological sign they would be, even though I don't believe in that stuff. It helps to consider at least which element (water, air, fire, earth, plutonium, boron) they gravitate toward.

But beyond astrology, certain birthdays can affect one's personality or outlook. Example: I gave Shane, the hero of my vampire books, March 1 as a birthday (and thus she finally reveals the purpose of this post!). I first decided he had to be a Pisces like his hero (whose 40th birthday I just missed), because that would mean something to him--he identifies with him a tad too much.

Then I picked March 1 because it must be the single most forgotten birthday of the year. I always have trouble remembering birthdays that come at the beginning of the month. Even if I were to write down birthdays on a calendar (I hear some people do that), I wouldn't see them until I flipped the page, usually around the 3rd or 4th day.

March sneaks up on us faster than any other month, because February, apparently, has sucked throughout history. Which makes March 1 the stealthiest date of the year. I know, because my best friend in the world has that birthday, and I usually forget it (but not this year! Hah!).

What would that do to a person's sense of self-worth if even his own family routinely forgot his birthday?

It doesn't seem to bother my friend. Then again, nothing does.

Afternote: My subconscious celebrated Shane's birthday by dreaming about him this morning. I dreamed we were trying to get tickets to the University of Maryland women's lacrosse game. They must have been playing Duke, because we had to resort to scalpers. (Yes, dear, I swear that was all we did.) Also, he must not have been a vampire, because it was daytime, unless he was wearing (WARNING! WARNING! GEEK FIT!) the Gem of Amarra.

A-Z update: "Baby Please Don't Go" by Muddy Waters

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Happy Birthdy, Antigone Pandora!


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 3/01/2007 10:03 AM

Today is also Gracie Oaxaca Hatfield Slattery's birthday (observed). When we got her from the shelter on August 28, 1998, they said she was six months old (although a lot of shelter dogs seem to have that age automatically assigned to them), so we subtracted six months and rounded to the nearest first day of the month.

Posted by: Blogger Dave S. at 3/01/2007 10:27 AM

My brother religiously forgets my bday every year and my bday comes at the end of January, not the beginning. But I console myself with the fact that inspite of the gazillion commercials, he always forgets christmas too.:-)

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 3/01/2007 2:40 PM

Happy Birthday, Gracie! Dave, we did the same with our cat. We got her at a shelter at the beginning of August, 1991, and they said she was five months old.

We actually know the real birth dates of our other beasts: Misha, 4/22/95 (Earth Day is his Birthday), and Meadow, 6/16/00).

Kathy, let us know your birthday and we'll have a party here on the blog next year for you!

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 3/03/2007 9:46 AM

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