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Where Do Characters Come From?

The easy answer is EVERYWHERE!  The harder answer is everywhere. 

I have the main character for my thesis novel, Maybe Tomorrow, and her name is Sarah Turner. She is twenty-three and a widow. She has a petite figure with shoulder-blade length blonde hair that she keeps up in a bun. She has stunning blue eyes and a cordial smile. Townspeople see her as meek and dependent. They feel sorry for her since the tragic death of her husband. She struggles to keep her little linen shop open, she continues to wear mourning dress and is developing feelings for another.

Yep, that’s all I know. Of course I have an idea of who the gentleman is and who her rival will be, but not their backgrounds, yet.

But, here’s the good news for me. This week is medical week for Mark and I. Monday I see my primary doctor. Tuesday, Mark sees the pre-surgical nurse. Wednesday, Mark has his hip replaced. Thursday, I pick Mark up from hospital and Friday I see my infectious disease doctor for my biopsy results. 

I have all week to sit in waiting rooms and while I always bring something to read, I end up watching people. People are characters. The things they do, how they interact with each other and what they do when they think no one is watching. Granted my characters live in the late 1800’s so obviously, people on their phones are of no interest to me, but I do find some colorful antics in waiting rooms. Of course, there are times I’m caught staring and I have explaining to do, but for the most part, I’m pretty subtle.

So that’s the good and bad news. People are everywhere, but they don’t like being watched.

Don’t let that stop you. Maybe you just need a boost for a character you are thinking of. Maybe you are looking for a certain look or a certain ethnicity, or a mannerism that you cannot describe. It’s out there. I promise you.

Many characters in my first two novellas came from melding people I know and putting them back in time.  

Don’t get rid of your characters. The meld is all around you!

Until next time…

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