I ♥ my character Cooper! He’s:
- a quick wit
- will mess with you to stir things up
- expresses himself with ease
I’ll let him share his own backstory:
“I have to know,” Eric said, “being a fan of the ethnicity of names, how you got yours.”
“My name? There’s a snoozer. Doctor Dad from El Salvador meets California Barbie Mom. Pretty soon they get news that I’m going to be a permanent house guest so they get married and shove off to Idaho to be a perfect family. Only they can’t agree on a name. The Doctor wants to name me something sounding South of the Border, but Barbie? She want a Hollywood name. So she gets mad at him on the way to the hospital and puts Cooper on the birth certificate. A year later they’re divorced and I’m on my way to owning that sweet driving machine out there.”
“Guilt car, huh?” Eric asked.
“But why should that anger your father? Isn’t that a common name?”
Joey and the others started snickering. Cooper’s grin got wider.
“‘Cause Alice Cooper was playing on the radio, dude. The Doctor was pissed!”
Earlier this year I shared my prologue and first two chapters with a workshop class. A woman critiquing my work said, “And what’s with this dweeb, Cooper?”
Cooper? A DWEEB? Noooooo!
I realized that I have to be careful when representing my characters. You don’t get the benefit of knowing them the way I do. I may have to show their weaknesses as well as strengths, but there is a responsibility in making sure a character is not misunderstood. The wrong grouping of words can put a whole different twist on a character that might damage his image with a reader forever.
Sorry, Coop. It was just a rough draft. Better luck wooing the ladies next time.