Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How do you find your characters?

I had planned different subject matter for this post.

Resolutions, goal setting, keeping your sanity while you try something new.

All those ideas flew out of the window when I stopped at a convenience store on my way home from the day job.

The store is just before the bridge that connects Illinois and Missouri.  I cross two rivers every day to get to work.  The area is surrounded by small lakes. Eagle watching is an annual event. I love the rural feel so close to the major city where I work.

As I walked to the store from the parking lot, I followed a couple.  He stopped at the door, leaned over to the young woman and said, "They don't know I'm with you. So act like you don't know me."

Her face turned gray.

I wanted to punch him.

As I gathered my items, I overheard more of their conversation. The man had been drinking, apparently worked at the store, and they stopped on their way home for him to use the restroom.

She stood in the aisle, waiting for him to reappear.

I wanted to tell her to run.  Run and never look back.

I heard today that when women have sex, the brain puts out this chemical that causes her to bond with the man, good or bad.  I wondered about this young woman.  Overweight, she looked beaten down and older than her years.  Had she bonded with the wrong man?

I need to bring this back to writing. Character development by ease dropping? Or did I just see the start of a mystery plot?  I guess there's no doubt who the victim would be in my story.  When I write about Jen (see, I've already named her), she might start out as the woman I saw tonight, but her world is about to change.

So fellow writers?  Have you ever wanted to rewrite someone's life?  Give them the happy ever after you know they deserve?



RT Wolfe said...

Characters find us, don't they? Great post, Lynn.
-R.T. Wolfe

Steven J. Wangsness said...

I'm always rewriting my life so I don't come out quite as much of a schmuck.

Lynn Cahoon said...

Steven - you make me laugh. I wanted to throw in a MEN suck comment, but really, just this specific man, and maybe, just this specific time. But he's still being killed off in one of my stories.

Lynn Cahoon said...

RT- ist it because as writer's we're more aware of the possibilites?

Thanks for stopping in. You still on review tour?

Morgan Mandel said...

When I worked in Downtown Chicago as an administrative assistant, I would get off the train and blend in with the stream of people walking to their day jobs. Often, I'd overhear the beginning of interesting conversations and never hear the endings. Sometimes I felt like following those people just to find out, but had to get to work!

Morgan Mandel
Twitter: @MorganMandel

Patricia Gligor said...

That man definitely makes a perfect murder victim for your story. Might I also suggest that you make him suffer first? :)
Writing fiction gives us the opportunity to see that justice prevails - if not in real life, at least in our books.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Good post. We writers are so luky to kill off whoever we want!

Lynn Cahoon said...

Morgan, I used to set in bars and just ease drop. Great story fodder.

Patricia, you made me laugh.

Marilyn, a perk of the job!