Friday, July 30
Lab Rats and Writing
They're my writing lab rats. They don't know it, and that's probably all for the best eh? Mentioning rats and restaurants in the same sentence is a sure guarantee for things going badly.
But, when you need to study human nature, in order to write, virtually the entire world becomes your oyster. Er, rat. The old couple who come in for supper and hold hands. The couple who came in to discuss their divorce and he left her stranded 60 miles from home with no ride. The family after the funeral. The 8 year old boy with only one front tooth who works soduku puzzles while waiting for his smiley fries.
All of the world can be your class on characterization. The trick is stopping to observe.
I've decided I'm going to have to keep a journal, just some highlights of the day. We're sometimes so busy we can't possibly remember it all, and sometimes things go badly and we don't WANT to remember it all. But when you're looking for that perfect secondary character and you remember the guy who came in for his bachelor party and had such a marvelous sense of humor that almost everyone in the place lined up to buy him a beer? Or the beautiful shy girl who always says please after every request. May I have another Coke, please?
Little bits and snips of their lives can really enhance the characters in your book!
Next time you're out in public, stop for a moment and observe. You'd be surprised at some of the great characters you can pick up.