I was taken aback the other day when a colleague confided in me that he had an epitaph the previous night. For a brief moment, thoughts of gloom and concern scoured my brain. A second later I found myself having to contain the insatiable desire to burst out laughing, spittle sprinkling his face, in full roars of laughter.
“You mean, and epiphany, right?”
Yeah. Way to go collegial educational system.
Alas, I had my own – dare I say it? – epiphany later that day as well. And of course, it directly related to my writing. In speaking with my wife about the day-to-day “how was work stuff” it suddenly hit me, like a slap square on my forehead, and I could almost hear the [now] ominous Doh!
She was asking for my opinion on how to approach a certain situation at her job, with her boss and colleagues. And I, being the least qualified to so, proceeded to give her my advice based on the personalities of the people she labors with everyday. I knew which tactic would work best with each one because I knew them. I knew their likes, their pet peeves, and because of that, their possible reactions. Even though I have only met them once, and for like two minutes at best. But I knew them through her. Her stories of her work day and such had been so excellent that I felt like I knew these folks. Hence, the epiphany.
This is how I want my readers to feel about my characters. I don’t want to tell you who my character is; I want you to discover him\her. To figure them out. I’ve spent so much time on crafting clues for the plot, for the reader to figure out the mystery of my novel as they read along, that I have somewhat neglected the people in it. Leave it to a self declared anti-social to forget about the people, right? This has inspired me, not to recreate my characters, but to quit restraining the natural voices I know they each have, and let them play on the page. If my wife, who does not speak English natively, can craft her coworkers in my head so well, surely, surely I can do at least the same. Maybe she should be the writer. And then I can dedicate myself to epitaphs.
Regardless, break is over me. It’s time to get back to work. What about you? How’s your WIP coming along? Oh, and I have to give a shout out to L.T. Host for getting a mention over at Nathan Bransford’s Blog for her first paragraph. It truly is an attention grabber. Great work!