Bonus – Characters and Getting Lucky
This originally appeared in March of 2015 on The Dragon Blog: Sassy Sisters on Fire.
Characters and Getting Lucky
It seems appropriate in a month that has both a Friday the 13th and St. Patrick’s Day to bring up the subjects of luck and superstitions.
Most authors can relate to some degree to the characters we create. Whether they share our mannerisms, our fears, or just our taste in dessert, you can find a little of us in a little of them. Even my villains I understand, even if I don’t tend to kill people, off the page I mean. So, it’s fairly natural for some of superstitions to seep into the cracks of our narratives.
In my novella, Cursed by Cupid, not only does Tilly believe in bad luck, but she believes she’s been cursed by not completing a chain letter. I didn’t come up with that out of the blue. I loathe chain letters with the fire of a thousand suns because, deep down, I’m a highly-superstitious person. In fact, most people who have obsessive-compulsive disorder, as I do, tend to hedge our bets and try not to anger the spirits of bad luck. I never walk under ladders. I try to avoid stepping on cracks. Even the thought of breaking a mirror makes me shudder. And I definitely knock on wood.
And I’m not the only one. The amount of lost revenue on days like Friday the 13th speaks for itself. People don’t shop, fly, and some even call in sick to work. My husband commutes on a ferry and it’s nearly empty on Friday the 13th. But it goes beyond that, buildings even take superstition into consideration when designing structures. How many buildings have a 13th floor on the elevator display? In the U.S., a good percentage of them don’t. The elevator numbers skip that unlucky number and it’s typically a level that’s uninhabitable, not open to the public, or the 13th floor is designated as the 14th floor. (Yeah, who are they fooling with that last bit?)
One of the things I find interesting is that superstitions are learned. In other countries, other numbers are unlucky. In some newer buildings in China, they skip floor numbers with a four in them as that number sounds like “death” when pronounced in Mandarin. And none of us were born with a fear of black cats crossing our path. None of us instinctually throw salt over our shoulder after we spill it. And, certainly, the more creepy superstitions and legends such as the myth of Bloody Mary had to be spooked into our souls by someone else.
Between superstition being so commonplace and authors imbuing their characters with some of their own attributes, it makes sense that you’ll see characters now and again worrying about their good or bad luck. It makes them feel, well, human.
If you’re interested in a tale about being cursed and getting lucky, check out Cursed by Cupid. If you dig novels with allergic werewolves, stubborn alphas, and women who kick literal and figurative tail, have a gander at my Taming the Pack series.