Saturday, August 1, 2009

On Encountering New Characters

Don't you just love meeting new fictional characters?

As both a reader and a writer, I love character driven stories. As a reader, my most cherished books are about characters whom I have come to love. Some of them are like old friends whom I enjoy visiting from time to time as I reread favorite novels over and over.

I also love meeting new characters as they emerge from the kind of artesian spring that lies in the heart of my imagination. Some might say that's because I'm a control freak and I only like people I can control. Writers will tell you that there is no controlling characters, especially the really strong ones! My only recourse when my characters do things I don't like is to abandon their stories, which I have done occasionally. Usually I try to make myself finish at least a sketchy draft of each story out of curiosity to see where the story is going. At that point, I may or may not feel that it's worth polishing and "finishing".

The characters I write about become very, very real to me. As I spend days, weeks, months and even years laboring over their stories, I come to love them.

Maybelle Dickens is my newest protagonist. (Don't you love that name?) She's kind of a cross between a female Forrest Gump and the cartoon character Maxine: a retired photographer for the National Geographic who's been everywhere and done everything. She's a hoot, and I'm having a blast getting to know her and her amazing collection of friends and relatives. Working title is The Adventures of Miss Maybelle.

"Always Faithful" -

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