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Monday, 13 August 2007

Creating Characters

Like all writers, I occasionally get asked where I get my ideas for stories. For me, the ideas come from characters. I love to read a book where the characters are so well written that it feels like you are sitting in the same room with them. Stories are so much more interesting when I really feel like I know the character.

As a teenager, my friends and I used to make it a game to see who could come up with the best story. We would sit in a fast food restaurant or a park and watch the people around us. Then we would take turns telling who the people were and what they were up to. I still swear we saw Stevie Wonder's chauffeur making a quick stop in McDonald's to pick up a happy meal for Stevie. You see there was this toy...

On Saturday I took my daughter shopping. We were in the mall and sat in the food court for awhile having something to drink. While we sipped our drinks I taught her a little about observing and finding characters for stories (she is an aspiring author as well). We watched the people around us and took note of the little things that made each person unique. Like the group of people that walked by us dressed in black and chains. They were trying to make a statement, but what about the boy that trailed behind slightly looking around like he was afraid someone might see him in that get-up. What is his story? Something simple like the girl with a broken leg, turned into a trapeze artist who had a little accident...or was it and accident? The stories go on.

I love making stories with her and we both have fun coming up with interesting ideas together. I tell her that someday we may just have to write a book together. But first we'll need to make a quick trip to McDonald's.

9 comments:

Tristi Pinkston said...

I have a present for you . . . come get it!!

http://tristipinkston.blogspot.com/2007/08/looky-what-i-got.html

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen said...

I enjoyed your blog, Stephanie, not only because it was fun, but also because it "speaks" of the value we writers can give to our families. Sometimes we get so caught up in the fact that writing, as a general rule, requires lots of time and provides so little money that we wonder "Is it really worth it?" Well, you've just shown us a reason to say, "it is." Thanks.

Rebecca Talley said...

What a fun way to "create" characters. Most of the time when I've been at the mall with my daughters, it's all I can do to stay upright. Maybe next time, I'll sit at the food court with my notebook while they shop.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Usually, I can out shop my daughter. we don't buy enough for it to be exciting for her.

Rick - second in command in the Stephanie Humphreys home. said...

So here I sit at my computer, wondering what character Stephanie is dreaming up right now. She is looking at me across the room with one eyebrow up and a bemused look on her face.

Does she see a dashing hero, filing his official report after an unbelievable adventure of saving a damsel in distress?

Does she see an arch-villain who is using his computer to develop his next evil scheme?

Does she see a frumpy house-husband who doesn't do anything but surf the net, and unbeknownst to him he will be experiencing an early departure from life at 2:00 am?

Hmmmm. "Honey - stop staring at me!!"

Stephanie Humphreys said...

You just never know, do you?

Amy said...

You two are halarious! My friends and I (and now my husband and I) also make up stories about the people around us. It quite often leaves us laughing straight from the gut. But, I never thought of it as a way to create a character! Ingenious!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

We'll have to do it together sometime. Remember our laughing straight from the gut at 2 am?

Amy said...

Combine that with canning and the good times are endless!!!

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