Monday, September 10, 2012

Your Character Could Use An Impala

For those of you who don't know, I love TV shows. There's this one show I've been watching for years and am ridiculously fond of. It's called Supernatural. There are two brothers in it. And demons. And angels. 

And a Chevy Impala.

My favorite character on the show, Dean Winchester, owns said Chevy Impala. The fandom refers to it as the Metallicar. I find this to be a fitting name, especially since Dean's love of heavy metal is no secret. But to Dean, the Impala is simply Baby.

Sometimes he loves his Baby.

Sometimes not so much.


Regardless of how he feels about the car, the point worth remembering is that he feels for the car. His Baby means a lot to him. Not only is it part of his father's legacy, it's the one place where Dean thinks he's safe. Untouchable. The Impala is a shield from the outside world, from the drama wrapped around his demon-hunting job. The Impala is home. 

Many writers stress over creating awesome characters. But sometimes, it's easy to forget (or willingly ignore) the importance of Things. Your characters aren't only defined by what they do or how they see the world, but also by what belongs to them and why they keep it. Dean isn't Dean without his Impala. The car is pretty much a character in its own right. It helps viewers get deeper into Dean's psyche without even uttering a word. 

So yeah. Whenever you feel like your characters aren't meaty or authentic enough, they could probably use an Impala. Just make sure it's a complement to the character, not an accessory to make him or her super awesomesauce cool for the sake of super awesomesauce coolness.

Now tell me: do any of your characters have an Impala? If so, is it a car like Dean's Baby or something else?


  1. There's a muscle car in my WIP, but it serves a little bit of a different purpose than this Impala. It definitely is a character in itself though!

    P.S. And I am not into cars at all. I can admire design features and such, but they are otherwise just a tool to get me from point A to point B.

  2. I really want an Impala, does that count?

  3. Always a joy to see the Winchesters or the Impala featured ;)

    As for belongings, I did utilize something similar to the Impala in my first novel. My main character (a demon) has a Harley that he adores. Despite the fact that he could have anything in the world, he cherishes it because it represents freedom for him. Freedom from his responsibilities and his job and his title. On the road, he can just be himself.

  4. My MC drives several vehicles, but no Impala. She has a Mustang Cobra, so that's at least a good, solid muscle car. :)

    Her major Impala item has to be the trunk where she keeps all her mementos, though. She stows the items that shape her into who she is today in there, and she uses the contents to piece together the motives and purpose of a serial killer bent on destroying her and everyone she loves. It is her refuge and her savior, just like Dean's Impala.

  5. Love Dean. I am soo far behind in that show...

    The mc in my ya novel drives a 1969 Shelby Mustang ohhh yeah.

  6. My MC went from a crucifix necklace to a circular pendent to nothing at all. Her love interest went from marijuana to PCP to nothing at all.

    Good for them :)

  7. I LOVE Supernatural and the Impala.

    I don't really think any of my characters have anything like Dean's Impala. I think I'll have to do something about that.

    Great post.

  8. Love this!! One of my MC's from an early novel is a sci-fi writer who collects comic books. While the rest of his house is as boring as a hotel lobby, the upstairs office where he writes is the one with the floating lamp, bright red couch, and his comic book collection. It's the one place where he can be him. I guess that'd be his Impala.

  9. My MC is a world-class yo-yoer, so his "Impala" is the 1970 red and white Duncan butterfly yo-yo that his father gave him before he passed away. Definitely don't mess with my MC and his yo-yo. :)

    1. Story about a world-class yo-yoer: awesome! Keep us updated.

  10. Supernatural is awesome--as is the car! Great way to point out that things are important to our characters and can also show us more about our characters. Would Dean have been the same without the car? Probably, but it's through his "relationship" with the car that we learn more about him.

    My favorite Supernatural moment is on the DVD extras when Jensen Ackles (Dean) lip syncs "Eye of the Tiger." Classic--and it features the Metallicar too.

  11. Late to the comment party here, but I just wanted to say that "Your characters aren't only defined by what they do or how they see the world, but also by what belongs to them and why they keep it." is a quote going up on my wall!

  12. Hi there! Thank you so much for sharing this information. You have such an awesome page. I’m a fan of Dean Winchester and idolize what he ware and especially how he think and resolve problems. Everyday it challenges me to prove my selves in saving people even in my small ways, thanks to Cult Obsessions for helping and guiding me out.


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