Monday, June 18, 2007

Character Values: "Others First"

When we decided to do Character Values as a theme, I thought what are character values? I know the difference between a good character and a bad character, but how are those qualities summed up? So I Googled the topic and found a list.

Glory/Prudence/Cooperation/Honesty
Honor/Justice/Liberty/ Responsibility
Liberty/Hope/Perseverance/Respect
Dignity/Temperance/ Integrity/Fortitude

But how could I talk about just one of these when my characters express several? And if I had to choose just one, how would I do it? I decided to subconsciously ponder the problem during a jaunt to the theater. While I was watching Nancy Drew (which was fabulous) the same theme appeared over and over—others first. My fate was sealed.

In all of my novels, there does seem to be a common thread of helping others. Not necessarily because the characters are totally unselfish, but because they’re secure (for the most part) in who they are or atleast where they stand.

TIES OF VALOR:

“Your brother was my only concern.” When Awyn opened his mouth to speak, she rushed on. “My father taught me a few things too. Family and friends come before all else. Even your own life.”

Of course death is an extreme measure, but Zara was raised to serve and protect as a military man’s daughter. Eventhough, Awyn is her enemy, she will not let an innocent die when she has the training and gumption to save him. Throughout the novel, Zara is shown doing good deeds for everyone she meets and in the end she is rewarded for her self-sacrifice.

BELIEVE IN ME:

“If you want to turn back, I will take you home. It’s your call.”

Her decision meant death, whether for herself or a score of others. How could she make someone else sacrifice their life for her stupidity? “I’m staying.”

No, Jacqui doesn’t have a death wish…she just hasn’t got a clue of what she’s gotten herself into. But as an orphan who’s learned to be responsible for everything she does—good or bad—she can’t let others pay for her error in judgment. Even after her eyes are opened to Winzles’ ways, she recognizes she is far stronger than the other stranded travelers who are sitting prey for the enemy. Without anyone to miss her, and a personality forged from fighting for everything, how can she not exchange herself for them?

ALL I EVER WANTED:

“I don’t want the same thing to happen to you. Like I said you don’t deserve to risk your neck and your family shouldn’t be made to suffer.” She’d seen the pain once before and wouldn’t be made to face it again. Not when she could stop it.

Painful events are hard to forget, especially for Shanna, who believes she had a hand in her husband’s death. Hermit-like she cut herself off from the world until Ravin arrived. Now she’s replaying the past, because he must undergo a deadly quest to clear her name. This time around, she’s determined he won’t go alone…and possibly not at all if she has her way.

JUST ONE LIFE:

In that instant she realized what she had become. Or rather been turned into. She was a witch’s Familiar. She had given up her human body to become his plaything, his minion of evil. If he thought she would do it willingly, he’d better think again. She would never give into the darkness of his magic.

Like famous last words aren’t they? Gwynan does come around from this irrational first opinion when she sees Kendron aid a homeless man by using his magic. In that one fell swoop he casts aside her doubts and gives her reason to honor, even love, him to the point of no return. And every good deed she does in the meantime swipes one small eraser stroke across her black past.

LOVEMAKER:

A heartbeat from sinking into the fetal position on the hotel’s ritzy restroom floor, Afra grimaced at her reflection, torn between selfishness and doing the right thing.

The war lasted a split second. Helping lonely souls was her calling.

You know how you try to branch out and do something else with your life? Then every time, it’s like someone’s conspiring against you and no matter what you do, you wind up doing the one thing you’re good at. That’s the deal with Afra. Everywhere she sticks her nose into people’s business, love blooms. As a trained love consultant, it’s her lifelong career dream come true. All day, everyday, she helps people find a partner, mends broken relationships and keeps love alive in couples. How much more selfless can you get?

So today’s moral of the story is: Be nice to others. You never know where or what one good deed might get you.

1 comment:

Lynda K. Scott said...

Great article, Skylar! And I loved your excerpts showing the character values.