Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Those Rambling, Incessant Talkers!

This is my last entry on real character analysis. Today I’m doing the incessant talker. Do you know anyone like that? More than one?

I have a family member and a friend at church who are like this. They are both precious ladies, BUT unless you have plenty of time on your hands, do not, I repeat, do NOT engage them in conversation.

I am a talker, also, so I understand incessant talkers. But these two ladies will bend your ear about people and things you have no interest in. As in a recent conversation that including the telling of one lady’s daughter’s co-worker getting written up for something. I don’t know this daughter’s co-worker and the story about her getting written up by a supervisor wasn’t an unusual or interesting story, and it certainly had no point to it. But incessant talkers don’t need a point.

I have concluded that incessant talkers are lonely for conversation because they don’t get enough talking, with someone who will listen, at home or from their spouse.

But imagine the scenario with an incessant talker in a novel. Let’s say for instance, a detective investigating a crime scene. One of the people he interviews is a rambling, non-stop talker. He finally sees a break to walk away, or he creates a break so he can walk away, and chalks up the mountain of information he just heard as unrelated to the case.

But he finds out later that in all that rambling monologue, the talker revealed a key clue to the case. Only he dismissed it along with everything else the talker said.

Use your imagination. There are so many possibilities for characters in our writing in the people we encounter all the time. So observe and write, write, write!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Those Quirky Characters Who Refuse to Grow Up

As writers we are surrounded by people that we can use as characters in our stories. Perhaps not the actual person, but someone with the same quirks, personalities,and appearance. There is no end to this. So following in theme I have for this month, here is another character I know or have in my life – the person who never grows up.

She’s in her early 30’s and I don’t think she has ever had a serious relationship with the opposite sex. I’ve known her since she was eleven or twelve, and she’s never really dated a lot. She’s attractive enough, has a bubbly and outgoing personality.

She doesn’t want to commit to anyone because she doesn’t she doesn’t want to grow up. She LOVES hanging out with the teenagers, but not in a weird way. She’s always served as a youth sponsor/leader in whatever church my daughter and her husband are youth pastors. But she hangs out with teens – mostly girls – during the week and weekends.

I love this young lady. She calls me mom. But she is quirky and sometimes her quirkiness is irritating and frustrating. I think I understand her refusal to commit (she was in a relationship recently with a handsome, sweet Christian guy, but she broke up after two months) because I know some of her background.

But the whole point of this blog is how this person I know would make a good character in my writing. Let’s see…a quirky 30ish woman who doesn’t want to grow up, is afraid to commit in a relationship. Yes, I could tweak that into an interesting character in a short story or minor character in a novel.

Go, my friends, and share your story with your vast array of characters. God bless us all, and bless our words that we pen.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Those Self-Absorbed Selfie Takers

Continuing with my blogs about people-watching and characterizations. This week I want to concentrate on not one person, but numerous who fit this description: the ever-loving, selfie-taking, posting-pictures-of-themselves-on-social-media people.

We all know at least one. Most of us know several people like that. And let’s face it, they are normally good-looking people. Although a few aren’t, yet they must think they are. One I know posts a different picture of herself every day and sometimes more than once a day. Maybe she was pretty in her younger days, but not so much anymore. But don’t tell her that. Someone did ask her one time at a social gathering why she posted so many pictures of herself. The next day she posting all over social media about how her feelings were so hurt.  What did she accomplish by doing that? Just what she wanted to accomplish. People were consoling her, telling her how they loved all her pictures, criticizing whoever could say such a cruel thing.

It is terrible when older, mature people, especially Christians, behave like they’re still in high school. But what great fodder for writing – the self-absorbed-with-their-looks characters. Of course, people can become absorbed or obsessed over many things: their intellectual prowess, their money, their fame, their physical ailments, their romance, their children, their accomplishments, and so on.

What would we see if we could look into the heart and soul of these people? Pride? Arrogance? Insecurities? Selfishness? A cry for love?  Loneliness? A need to be noticed? Constantly needing praise and affirmation?

Please don’t mistake my example for those of you who post a different picture once a week or so. I am not referring to you. But, just think of the twists and turns your story could take with a person continually taking selfies.

And of course, if I was young, gorgeous, and hot maybe I would be posting selfies every day, eh?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Using Real People As Character -types in Writing

For the month of June I am going to blog about character observations of real people.  Good writing includes great characters, both good and bad. Do you enjoy people-watching and forming opinions about people from their actions and mannerisms? I do. But we only see on the surface. We can’t truly know the heart and mind of anyone.

Today I’ll talk about Louise – not her real name.  She’s hard to miss because Louise makes sure she’s not overlooked.

We all know people who are focused on, and love to talk about, their physical ailments. Louise should teach a class on it. She has mastered this. Do not, I repeat, do not sit next to Louise unless you are prepared to hear a litany of her ailments and illnesses – real and imagined, but more imagined, I would surmise.

She is a nice enough person. I don’t believe she has a mean bone in her body. But oh, those bones of her body! In the past few years I’ve known her she has had every illness, disease, and condition. If she truly has had those conditions, which includes cancer in various body parts and several deadly diseases, she should not be alive.

But she is very much alive. How do I know? Whenever I see her, she struggles out of her seat and proceeds to moan and limp around holding her back with a pained expression on her face.

Please don’t think I am heartless and Louise really is suffering. I’ve seen her rush to her truck because her husband wants to leave – this after she has spent the time moaning and limping.

Intermittently Louise will announce that she is healed and pain-free. No limping. No moaning. But this announcement is quickly followed by her announcement that they—whoever they are –  have found cancer, or she’s diabetic, or has lupus, shingles, congestive heart failure, and the list goes on and on. Eventually those ailments fail to materialize or don’t have the desired effect, so she’s back to limping and moaning.

Louise is not old; she’s probably mid 40’s. Her husband always looks embarrassed by her antics. What would your in-depth conclusion be on someone like Louise? On the surface, I would say she’s a drama queen. She craves attention. She’s a hypochondriac extraordinaire.

All those surface conclusions don’t get to the real issue deep within the heart of Louise. I have no idea what has happened in her life to make her this way. I can only guess. Recently she has glommed onto me. I groan and ask God to help me be kind and patient -- help me show her hope and a better way, that she is likable and lovable as she is; she doesn't need an ailment for people to care. 

But, oh how I can use a Louise-type in my fiction writing. That’s the beauty of being a people-watcher if you are a writer.