A new beginning

Paula’s Post #53 – December! How did we get to December already?

After a year of turmoil for this 5writer, I’m on the threshold of a new beginning. Today, we officially take possession of our new home in the small coastal village of Gibsons, B.C., population 4,182.

… er, 4,184.

This is going to be quite a change from cosmopolitan Vancouver, even if we did live in sedate, rather staid West Vancouver. Seriously, I think I’m going to need to ask Silk for some tips for small town life. Island life. For even though our new home is not on an Island, it is so isolated from the Mainland, with only rough logging roads, that you still need to take a ferry to get here.

Hmm… come to think of it, sounds like a perfect location for… murder.

Time to start channelling my inner Jessica Fletcher?

Like most writers, I find people endlessly fascinating. Every new soul encountered scrutinized for potential. I imagine us authors skulking about with giant oversized butterfly nets, always on the prowl for new characters we can capture and add to our latest novel. Maybe not the whole of a person, unchanged, but we at least their more striking physical characteristics… their mannerisms… their prejudices, needs and desires.

I don’t know why, but somehow, in this small quaint village, these bits and pieces of ‘character’ seem all the more striking. But danger awaits on the road ahead. If I get a little too inspired, borrow a little two much of someone’s ‘character’ will that person later discover their alter ego literary self on the pages my novel? I fear this is a trap more than one author has unwittingly fallen into. Or perhaps wittingly.

As writers, we are constantly admonished to ‘write what we know’, and that includes the characters in our novels. So, only natural to mine our circle of friends or acquaintances for inspiration.

If the residents of my new town start showing up in my novel, their in good company. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous creation, Sherlock Holmes, is suspected to be based on a real life medical doctor with Dr. Joseph Bell, a  man with keen observational skills and superior intelligence who lectured at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, once served as the doctor’s clerk at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he learned Bell was famous for being able to observe a man and instantly deduce many things about his life that he could not possibly have known other than through the power of deduction. Sound familiar?  Bell also advised the police in several investigations in Scotland.

I’m not sure I’ll meet anyone as inspiring as Dr. Bell. But I’m excited about this new beginning.

A few years ago, a dear friend gave me a very special coffee mug. One that I use on special occasions. Now that I’m about to become a ‘Gibsonite’, I have a feeling I may be using it a lot more often.

4 thoughts on “A new beginning

  1. Oh, I guarantee you’ll meet characters aplenty in small-town Gibsons, if it’s anything at all like Saltspring (and how could it not be?). The good news is, nobody can copyright their personality. The bad news is, they CAN you out of town …

  2. Romantic Gibsons! Congratulations to your new home. Sounds like an ideal retreat for an extended writers’ group meeting. I am sure there will be lots of character studies for you. Like over brunch at Molly’s Reach.

  3. Be careful about small town life. Everybody knows everything about everybody else. Take Silk’s caveat seriously. You’ll be the “newcomer” for a long time, and if one of those characters see’s him/herself in your writing and isn’t pleased, you’ll be the outcast forever.

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