Sunday, February 1, 2009

Do You Make Your Characters Sick? By Morgan Mandel

Today's usual blogger, Dana Fresti, is under the weather, so I'm posting today in her stead. Her illness made me wonder. How often do authors let their characters be sick?

I'm trying to think if I've been so unkind to my characters. In Two Wrongs, as well as many mysteries, lots of characters are killed off, but that's not being ill. Then again, in Two Wrongs, the two major characters are consumed with a desire for revenge. One overcomes it, the other doesn't. That could qualify as being sick mentally.

In Deadly Dreams, a mystery for which I'm seeking publication, two of the characters deal with sickness and injury, one with hypoglycemia, another with repercussions from an automobile accident. There I've allowed illness to creep in.

In Girl of My Dreams, my romantic comedy with a slice of suspense, I don't recall my main character being sick a day in the story, although the antagonist is definitely mentally ill.

What about you? Do you make your characters sick? Or, do you recall any authors who do? Please share.

Morgan Mandel - For more Morgan - Come on over to Double M at
Sunday's topic is Why do you watch the Super Bowl? For the Games Or the Commercials Or Both?


Mark Troy said...

My main characters have gotten sick after drinking too much. They've also been injured and addicted to pain pills. You have to make it tough for your characters.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Yes I do! Outside of things that don't really classify as illness (car accident, muscle pulls, childbirth), my illness of choice tends to be the flu. Everybody seems to get it at least once in a while, and in one scene (which appears in two books) it's very integral to the storyline.

I think illness is another way of showing our characters are real people...

L. Diane Wolfe

BronzeWord said...

I read a lot of mysteries and I don't rrecall any protag being sick. I think I read one book where the protag had the flu however it added to the msytery in a way. At least I think I remember.
Jo Ann Hernandez

Chris Hamilton said...

A friend of mine, a very active woman, has rheumatoid arthritis. My protagonist is currently hanging around with a semi-bad ass woman in her late 30s who also has to come to terms with RA. Much more interesting than just having her run around and shoot people.

jwhit said...

Interesting topic question, Morgan.

Yes, illness and injury are parts of three of my books, including:

-mental illness and post partum depression
- anorexia and diabetes in the same teenage character; sets up the involvement of doctors, medical emergencies, hospital attendance, danger of diabetic episode
- car crash recovery of a passenger in a car where the driver died; set up a nice interplay of a boyfriend looking after the surviver
- a girl who gets shot but can't go to the hospital because she was involved in a crime


Dana Fredsti said...

Thank you for stepping in for me, Morgan! I gave my character Connie in MFH a migraine and a hairline fracture in her leg (at different times). Sometimes it helps to give the characters vulnerability by giving them illnesses and such!

That being said, whoever gave me the flu is a poop.

Cat Connor said...

My main character in Killerbyte (coming soon from Rebel e publishers) is hypoglycemic and suffers a skull fracture, concussion, and broken arm during the story.
It makes life interesting. :)