Monday, April 2, 2012

A-Z Challenge: Character feature, Vampire Bill Compton

It's A-Z Challenge time, baby! And I'm sticking to my character theme, only today the letter is "B." Meet, Vampire Bill Compton. 
I’m not talking about the Stephen Moyer’s version of the Famous Bill Compton of HBO series, True Blood, although I think, Moyer does a fine job at capturing Bill. What I’m referencing is the Original Bill Compton from Charlaine Harris and her best-selling Sookie Stackhouse novels. Like all characters in the series, Bill has his purpose, but for my character feature, I’m not discussing his broodiness, lust for Sookie, or even his importance in the novels. I wanted to highlight him today because Harris does this hilarious trick with him in her books that makes me roll every time. 

Vampire Bill is forever “popping” into scenes, and I can’t get enough of it. For me, these “pop-ins” are equivalent to the cello playing in the spin-off True Blood series. Nah…scratch that. The cello playing gets old. The book pop-ins are timeless. Here’s an example of his character trait from Book 2, Living Dead in Dallas:

“I couldn't make up my mind, so I hopped in the shower. Thinking about Fantasia made me tense. The vampires who owned it were part of the vampire power structure, and once they’d discovered my unique talent, I’d become a desirable acquisition to them. Only Bill’s determined entry in the vampire self-governing system had kept me safe; that is, living where I wanted to live, working at my chosen job. But in return for that safety, I was still obliged to show up when I was summoned, and to put my telepathy to use for them. Milder measures than their former choices (torture and terror) were what “mainstreaming” vampires needed. The hot water immediately made me feel better, and I relaxed as it beat on my back.

“Shall I join you?”
“Shit, Bill!” My heart pounding a mile a minute, I leaned against the shower wall for support.
“Sorry, sweetheart. Didn’t you hear the bathroom door opening?”
“No, dammit. Why can’t you just call ‘Honey, I’m home,’ or something?”

This is one example of many and like I said, it never gets old. I’m in awe of the talent that Charlaine has and how she artfully weaves these little tropes or traits into her characters. It’s such a master skill, truly.

Anyway, as a writer, I often think about little details like that. What about you? Have you nailed a character in such a way?

Mina B.


C.M.Brown said...

I know what you mean Mina, Bill just seems to silently slide in from nowhere! Love this series of books,but I have also enjoyed the HBO take as well!

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Very clever. I'm beginning to understand why my daughter is hooked on these books.
I hope I can develop a character to this extent.

S. L. Hennessy said...

Eric is definitely my favorite (books AND show), but you just gotta love Bill. He's pretty terrific.

Great post and yay for talking about vampires for B (I went with Buffy). Happy A-Z blogging!

Damyanti said...

Characterization is all about detail.

--Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Lady Gwen said...

I'm not familiar with the series, but the scene was great! Shower scenes are scary *shivers*. Well done with "B"!

DonnaGalanti said...

Hilarious! And bravo to you for doing the thinking of jumping in late...can sign up until tonight! to do or not to do!

T.D. McFrost said...

I love True Blood! Screaming Fanboy here!

Sarah Pearson said...

I love it when I read a book and a character has some sort of trait that is just 'them'.

Kayla Beck said...

I've actually never noticed that before! (Probably because I'm too busy hating him.) I'll have to pay attention to it when I do my next reread of the series. =)

<a href=">Kayla @ Bibliophilia, Please</a>

Mina Burrows said...

@CM Brown - Bill and his tropes. LOL

@Marygiggles -Oh, you have to read them. They're wonderful!

@SL Hennessy - I love Eric too.

@Damyanti - Damn straight!

@LadyG - You have to read them. You'll love them.

@Donna - Do! Do! You'll love it!

@TD McFrost - Don't I know it!

@Sarah - Me too.

@Kayla - The next time you pick up her books, see if you catch it. Its hilarious.

MTeacress said...

Hey there. Pleased to meet you on this a-z challenge. I like your theme, and your spooky blog. :)

Have a great week!

Michael Pierce said...

I need to read more of the books. I started with the show and am working my way backwards. Great post! I love the fine nuances and ticks of characters that bring them to life (even the undead...haha)

J.C. Martin said...

Never read Charlaine Harris, but vampire Bill does sound like an interesting character!

J.C. Martin
A to Z Blogger

Stephsco said...

I do love Charlene Harris! I've read the whole series, and while I the last few books have felt a little off, i still love all the characters and have fun catching up with them. It's like comfort food in book form.

Stopping by for the A to Z challenge!