Character Inspiration for Mikah Lee
For those that have read the story, you’ve met Mikah. (If you haven’t, I’m not giving too much away, so this won’t spoil much or anything of the plot.) Mikah is Gretchen’s nemesis in art class, for good reason. He is uptight, narrow minded, judgmental, and patronizing. Oh so patronizing.
We all know a Mikah or two, don’t we?
Mikah’s character was inspired not by any one person in particular, but as an idea of the type of person who knows our buttons and keeps pressing them. One of my pet peeves is when someone treats me as if I’m a clueless imbecile and speaks at me as such. Maybe it is my stature or look (I’m all of just over five feet, and I look at least ten years younger than I am), but I have people speak to me as if I’m either a country bumpkin who has never experienced another culture (not true), as if I’m an ill-educated dunce (again, not true), or as if I’m confined to a bubble and unaware of the world (okay, I may not have experienced everything, but it doesn’t mean I don’t know it exists. What else is Netflix for?).
I wanted to lump all of those who have made me feel inferior into one neat little character.
Mikah is a very minor character, but how he treats Gretchen can either make or break her day. It’s like he’s a cat who can sense those who are allergic to them; he seeks her out when she’s already in a bad mood…or if she’s just trying to work.
Mikah considers his artistic intelligence above anyone else. As we know, Gretchen is not a dummy. She excels in classes. Her art work has been presented in shows in the community. She’s a varsity athlete. But it’s the other aspects of Gretchen that make Mikah think that she is well beneath his creative genius. I exaggerated Mikah’s faults in the story to a laughable point. He is there to show that foil to Gretchen. She is a well-rounded student: not perfect, but athletic and creative. For having a protagonist that is the embodiment of how I feel most teenagers are (the average kid isn’t usually involved in just one activity/club/clique, but a variety). There needs to be a Mikah.
His faults are the ones that make him an unpleasant person. He’s narrow-minded. He looks and speaks down to someone who doesn’t follow his precise way of thinking.
Did I just describe people you know?
If I had to guess Mikah’s future, I would see him as the perfect internet troll. The guy who seems to have so much time on his hands, that he pushes up the hipster glasses he bought from Warby Parker (no prescription, just to fit the stereotype), sips his microbrew, and scrolls through Facebook comments seeking out the ones who are just like him, but on the other side of the issue.
I went there. If you think that I just described you, well, that sounds like a problem for you (insert shrugging emoji here). My characters are exaggerations of people you may know because they are a compilation of traits from all the type of people I know. Including my own. Because yes, I see myself in Gretchen. But I also see myself in characters like Mikah and Jess and Miss Beck and Nicole and Ethan. That’s the beauty of fiction. Since we aren’t all that different, not really, I’m sure you can see bits of yourself in some of the characters as well. The good, the bad, or even the Mikah.