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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thursday Thoughts

No post yesterday, which I dubbed Working Wednesday. I'm hard at work wrapping up a direct mail campaign for a Seattle, Washington publisher. Want to see what I do when I'm not writing? Here you go.

I'm very excited about the new book, Mystic Taxi, which is still in the story development phase. I'm casting the characters now and have a great protagonist in Henry Paine, and his spunky young partner-to-be, Wanda Snow. As part of their character development, I like to interview them to learn what makes them tick. They surprise me sometimes. But their answers are necessary for laying out the main story line and subplots.

I asked Wanda what's in her purse. She said she doesn't carry one. So what does she carry? Pockets. Lots of them. Why? Because it makes stuff harder to steal. So what's in her pockets? A small pocket knife, pack of chewing gum, cash, tube of lipstick, several squares of aluminum foil, headache powders (not pills? Wanda: What's a pill?), a shaker of salt, and an old locket containing a photograph of her great, great, great grandmother. Alrighty then.

How about Henry? He doesn't carry a purse, either. In fact, the joke itself makes his eyes glow red. Pardon me. What's in his pockets? Cash, hack license for the State of New York, a handful of pumpkin seeds, a comb, a small harmonica, and a lot of lint. Seriously. His pants are due for a good washing and there's a rip down the seam below his knee. What's that all about? He doesn't want to talk about it.

What does this tell me about my characters? A lot I didn't know before checking their pockets. Now they're becoming real for me. I've started hearing their voices as they talk and I now have a clue about their personalities. We're making progress. Some of the tougher questions, though, have yet to be answered.

But Henry and Wanda must sit on the side lines a while longer as I work through another set of revisions (more like additions) to Knight's Curse. It's not unusual for a writer to work on more than one book at a time, but these are two totally separate series and I can't mix them up in my head right now. I'm afraid it might put me in a coma.

3 comments:

Genene Valleau said...

Hey, Karen!

Love the interview of your characters about what's in their pockets or purse. I enjoy interviewing my characters also, so will have to remember this angle.

Glad you're still making progress on this story, even if sporadically between other projects.

Creative A said...

Hey :)

Had a nice little laugh over the items. What *is* up with the tear in Henry's pants? Now I'm curious.

I can never interview my characters. It drives me nuts. For some reason, I have the hardest time imagining them outside their own world; and unless an item is important, it's not in their world. I really have to sit down and think about what kind of clothes they might be wearing, or what color their bathroom carpet is. Very strange.

Anyway, good luck with all that "adding."

Karen Duvall said...

LOL, Creative. I'm crious about the rip in Henry's pants, too. He still hasn't told me, but I'll get it out of him.

I think the secret to character interviews is letting go. We're naturally restricted by our own reality, and that's what's so freeing about reading fiction. It can be just as freeing writing it, if not more so. As writers, we are the master of our own universe. 8^)

One of the most important things about getting to know your characters on an intimate level is that it helps prevent your characters from acting out of character.