Joe’s Post #134
1) Timmies coffee is brain food. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
2) Creating amazing fictional characters is hard. It may not seem like it, but avoiding shallow, cliched characters takes time, some thinking and a lot of work.
3) Why create fictional characters at all when you can draw from people in your own life (or even other fictional ones, but that’s another blog entirely.)
It was the #3 that really got me thinking. Since I have lived a life of utter normality, I had to look farther afield. But if you lived an amazing life, use that. I know some of our 5/5/5 have had extraordinary lives that they could easily draw upon. Just not me.
So, I looked back to someone in my life who I really admired, someone who I dearly wish was still alive today. My dad.
I was pretty young when he passed so I never got a chance to really hear about his life from him. Sadly, at 13, you just don’t care that much about what your parents did or didn’t do. They exist only as your parents. They never had sex. They never had their hearts broken. They never went on adventures or committed crimes or battled dragons.
Now my dad never battled dragons, at least that I know about, but he did have a life, and it’s sometimes not the large things that make up a life, but the small. My dad had lost his sense of smell after working in a slaughter house for 2 years. He could only smell a few things and those things he could smell, he loved. Like the smell of hot tar.
Who loves the smell of hot tar?
I looked back at what foods he loved, at what he did as a young man (he played the bass in big bands), at who he hated and why. I looked at the mementos he kept and the pictures that were taken of him.
Sure, his experience in WWII shaped a lot of who he became, but there were so many other little things that made up who he was as a person. He took in homeless boarders, lost souls who needed guidance, young men who just needed someone to believe in them. He felt he was repaying a debt to someone who had taken him in when he’d come to Canada, penniless and desperate. He’d write ‘Grandma Ag’ (Agnes) every week like he wrote his mom.
Such things great characters are made of. The debts, the loves, the hates, the small joys, the big laughs, the things he would keep in a cluttered desk drawer.
So, I’ll mine a few things from my dad’s life, as much to honor him as to make a really good character. When you read about Kurt Yager, or any of my male protagonists, know that there is a little bit of my dad in them.
Best show last week – Went and saw a movie with the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world – Something we haven’t done for a long while. We saw the Kingsmen. Wow. I mean, wow. Imagine if Quentin Jerome Tarantino made a Bond movie. Violent. Funny. Massively engaging.
Book that I’m reading at the moment – Shadow’s Edge. Brent Weeks. About half way through. The stakes are rising, but as a writer, the interesting thing is that he’s now spending about 1/2-1/3 of the book on other POV characters. Not a bad move, but interesting. I mean, why get tied down to just one?
Pages written on new book – Worked on my main character. Hence the blog. From character flows plot, right?
Social media update – Still blogging on my step-dad site about my experience as a chaperone on a grade 7 camping trip. I have to blog about something terrifying today.
Health – Functionally deaf at the moment due to another ear infection. F*ing hell.
Best thing last week – Date night and movie with the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world.
Worst thing – My laptop being fixed. Damn you Word. Why won’t you work properly?
Links to other writers and bloggers to check out….
Marie Lavander – A very well done site, and only 1 of 3 she has running! http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.ca