Life in progress


#SoCS – Giving birth to characters

Being a writer, I’ve read thousands of articles and opinions on how we typically come up with the characters who appear in our fiction. Is there a typical way? Probably not, but being as this is stream of consciousness and I stuck that damned rule in there to say we can’t edit, … that’s all she wrote.

Anyhoo, back to the topic of characters. One of the phrases I read a lot is “giving birth to characters.” I can’t say that I do that. “Giving birth,” to me, implies that they’re brand new shells of people who rely on me to fill them up with experiences, emotions, ways of speaking, and things they’re likely to do and ways they’re likely to react at any given moment. For me, characters appear as already-formed beings. I don’t give birth to them as much as I discover them.

One of the ways I know this–one of the main ways I know this–is when they show me their accents. In this alone I can tell where they come from, whether or not they have a lot of money, their age, their demeanor. I suppose it’s not necessarily as much “accent” as way of talking. Inflection, grammar, whether or not they use a lot of cliches. That sort of stuff.

It’s not as though I have them hanging around in my head all the time. If they did, I wouldn’t get a thought to myself. Nah, they come and go. You’ll see them in my “Second Seat” series. Come to think of it, it’s almost as though I have a bus inside my head …

Hmmm… Now there’s a thought.

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2. Scenes from the Second Seat on the Right

Note: Strong language

Saturday, September 2nd, 3:00pm
Andrea and Lacey


Andrea: So, she told me she’s, like, so skinny and when I get there? It’s like, who is this fat chick?

Lacey: Don’t you just hate it when people do that? They tell you one thing online …

Andrea: … and then I know! You find out they’re, like, nothing like they said they were going to be.

Lacey: It’s, like, remember that guy …

Andrea: Oh shit, yeah! That guy who told Billy he was straight and then …

Lacey: No, that other guy …

Andrea: Oh, the one who Martina met in the park? The one who, like, showed up with all this suit of armor and shit?

Lacey: Yeah, that one. Didn’t he …

Andrea: (laughs) Oh yeah, that’s right. He had to go to the bathroom and … (looks across the aisle at a middle aged man) What the fuck are you looking at?

Andrea sits back in her seat and pulls at the gum in her mouth, stretching it.

Andrea: (quietly to Lacey) Do you believe people these days? Jeez!


Next stop: Sunday, September 3rd, 1:00pm

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