I am often asked (ok, not often, I’m acting as if I have an actual writing career and there are throngs of people clamoring to hear/read my every word. I have to pretend from time to time so I don’t, you know, go crazy and take off on a self-narrated crime spree. Hmm, I wonder if referring to myself in the third person during said crime spree would be a good foundation for an insanity defense. Hmm, it probably would if I just didn’t rant about it in a a blog that will be on the interwebs.) where I get my ideas for characters.
It depends on the character. The focal character in Circumstance ( I know, I know, it was supposed to be out by now, refer to any of the previous entries if you need to know how my life got so nuts.) came from a conversation I made up while watching a couple on a lunch date. The girl stumbled slightly and her date looked concerned, so I made up this whole story about how she had an eating disorder and he’s worried about her health. He is so concerned that he doesn’t tell her about the interesting girl he met the night before. The girl he met is the character Vanessa Riley. Once she was in place, the rest of the story kind of came together. The other characters in that story are amalgams of people I knew in Farmington, NM and from people I knew when I was younger.
The Miller siblings have each had three different characters based on them and their relationship. The work in progress has a character based on Actor Boy. That character’s siblings did actually just poof into being, but once the main character is in place the rest of it just sort of happens.
There is a person from my past who is part of every character I create. I don’t know why that is. It’s unintentional. The first complete work I wrote after my head blew up, a one-act play called Another Blind Man at the Gate, has several moments that are largely inspired by that relationship.
I am finishing up a novella under my pseudonym (I know, I know, it’s not any more or less finished than circumstance, but I need to get it published under the fake ID before the next step in my career slips out from under me.) The characters in that one started out in one direction, but somehow came around in a completely different way. I know that is the hallmark of good character; they have a life changing experience and they are the better for it. The character who started out as an antagonist has somehow turned out to mean something completely different to the heroine.
I’m not entirely sure how that happened. I do know where that character came from. It came from one person and wrapped up as another.
Meanwhile there is a whole cast of characters hanging out in my brain tapping their feet at me with varying degrees of patience while I finish all of this up.
Maybe THAT’s what I should say after the crime spree.