I’m more than just a “mom”.

People sometimes ask “who” my Between Friends characters “are”.  There isn’t really any definitive answer to that.  When I originally created the strip, I had five women characters who were modeled on good friends of mine as well as myself.  I was advised early on to take those five characters down to three…and to “really develop” the personalities of those three.  The editor said five characters were too many for a reader to get to know all at once.

So I took the three strongest, most developed characters and based my comic on Susan, Maeve and Laura.  (Laura morphed into Kim…but that’s a whole other story)  There were some traits of the dropped characters that I liked though…and so I molded these bits and pieces into the chosen three.

The point is that the characters were influenced by real people but they aren’t a mirror reflection of those people.  And in addition to that, I would say there’s also a little bit of me in each of my three women. I admit that I identify most strongly with Susan.

That’s who my comic strip characters are. Confusing enough?

The other thing about these characters is that they’ve become individuals in their own right over the years.  When I write a strip, the outcome of the situation or the punchline ultimately depends on which character is being featured. There are things Maeve would say that Kim wouldn’t.  There are ways Kim would react in certain situations where Susan would do the complete opposite. I write according to who the characters are…not according to what I want to say.  (Although I guess I could flip that and say if I wanted to make a particular point, I would give my voice to the character it best fit in the situation.)

This week’s comics are about Susan wanting to make a change in herself…something she frequently wants to do but somehow never seems to follow through.  She wouldn’t be Susan if she did.

Helen (Maeve’s assistant at the office) is a completely different type of character. She’s more sure of herself, she’s no-nonsense and she’s the type of person who gets things done.  Below is a series from 2006 where she decides she wants to make a change.  And she does.  Because she’s Helen.

Helen's makeover 2006

5 thoughts on “I’m more than just a “mom”.

  1. I know what you mean about Susan always wanting to make a change and never following through. Most of the time it’s kind of comforting to me that she’s like that – a lot of Susan rings very true for me.

    In the Jane Jeffry mysteries by Jill Churchill, the main character was kind of the same way – her best friend always seemed to have it all together and she was just going one day at a time. But then in one of the later books, there was a scene where Jane did something absolutely right and arranged to get exactly what she wanted, and even her best friend was impressed at how she handled it. I was surprised how strongly I reacted to that scene! I was literally cheering out loud – “Yay Jane, you came out on top for once!” and my husband thought I was a little nuts. 🙂 (Of course, then the series completely jumped the shark at the end and everyone started acting way out of character and I was so disappointed… but I digress.)

    Anyway, if there’s a point to this long and somewhat disjointed ramble, it’s this: I agree with you that that’s who Susan is, but I think it’d be really neat if she *did* come out on top sometime. Followed through with something she really wanted to do, did it, and then had that classic smug/dazed “hey wow, I actually did it!” thing going. Especially if Maeve complimented her – I think that’d be awesome. 🙂

    • Hi pvc ramen,

      Twitter…sigh…people keep telling me I should be tweeting but I’ve been avoiding it. I’m afraid it will just eat up more of my time. It’s not twitter, it’s me. (and my procrastinating tendencies) But I’ve been reconsidering it…and if I cave, I will definitely let people know by posting here on my blog. And if I do, I would love to have you follow me! Thanks. 🙂

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