One of the things I’ve been working on with the short stories I’m writing is trying to improve my character work. Without characters, after all, a story doesn’t go very well. Actually, I suppose it can, but that sort of writing is way beyond my skill. I’m willing to go a pretty long way for a good character, and let’s be honest. More often than not the character is what catch us for a good adventure.
I’ve been coming across some fantastic characters recently, both in books and in real life. While I’m considering how the books I’ve plowed through showed these characters— the craft part of writing— I’ve also been trying to capture the characters I’ve been seeing in real life. There’s the young man who is always reaching out to touch his friends. It’s not anything aggressive or needy, but a hand on a shoulder or a laughing hip-check seems to be a constant thing for him, and his friends not only don’t mind, they seem to support this tactile young man by reciprocating.
There’s the grizzled older man in fatigue pants who turned to reveal that his black t-shirt is, in fact, covered in sequins. The woman with the amazing lilac leather jacket and vinyl rainbow purse. I see these people and want to know their stories. I want to hear about the amazing adventures or heartbreaking tragedies they’ve got hidden behind the surface of what I can see while sitting at the cafe table. There are amazing characters everywhere if you’re paying attention, and my goal recently is to be able to do them justice when I put them down on the page.