Monday, September 27, 2010

Art Flowers is a Character

On Saturday we went to local arts and crafts fair called Celebrate Art in the Garden held at The Antique Rose Emporium. I didn't buy anything, but a few things tempted me - especially a wide array of glass suncatchers and windchimes. Live In Handyman's green thumb took control, however, and he purchased a Texas Star hibiscus:


The artisans captured most of my attention. Some sat back in the shadows of their booths not interacting with the lookers and shoppers. Some mingled and talked to everyone, telling about the objects they'd created. Some stood at the front of their booths but didn't mingle. They looked at everyone, some said hello.

I thought about how different these people were and how their overall demeanor would shape them as a character on the page.

Say you have a police officer as a character. If the officer were the type to sit back in the shadows, he would be the quiet one who listened intently to what each witness and suspect said. He would observe how they moved, understand what their body language told him.

But if your officer mingled and talked to everyone, all the while keeping an eye out for everything happening in and around her, she would be the officer who carried on with those witnesses and suspects who came away thinking they weren't on her list at all. In an earlier time period, this would be the stereotypical beat cop who knew everyone on the streets he walked every day.

What about the officer who stood in the Mr. Clean pose and glared at the witnesses and suspects? He's the off-duty cop working as the bouncer.

I chose a law enforcement officer because I write mystery and suspense. What about the characters you write? Can you see how these different personalities could apply to them?

Happy Monday!

22 comments:

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Isn't it funny how differently you react to people if you put on your writer sunglasses?

And while I love suncatchers and windchimes, I would have perhaps bought the hibiscus too.

Hannah Kincade said...

LOL! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who does this. I wish I could wear sunglasses all year round so people wouldn't see me staring. :D

My current MC would be the one who's not interacting with anyone.

Clarissa Draper said...

In one of my stories, I have two police officers. One is quiet and one is off the wall. Both bring wonderful traits to the story.

CD

Carol Kilgore said...

Ack! Blogger is messing with me. It ate my responses. Trying again.

Rayna - I definitely wear my writer sunglasses. Our new plant is lovely, and so far it's liking it's new home.

Hannah - Sometimes I don't realize I'm staring until the other person stares back. Maybe I should wear a sign that says Don't Mind Me...I'm a Writer. We're terrible - LOL.

Clarissa - I think that must be a good story.

Talei said...

Oh, I'm totally a people watcher. You can get some great actions for your characters. And I always travel with my sunnies on so no-one can see me. LOL.

Joanne said...

I like this. What a great exercise to try out with new characters, as a way to get to know them better and see which personality suits them best.

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

SUNGLASSES! That’s what I need. It’s so hard to stare, I mean watch, people interact without looking like a neerdowell.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Clever observations!

Carol Kilgore said...

Talei - Sunglasses are great outside. Inside, not so much. At least not around here.

Joanne - Exactly!

Holly - LOL. I know what you mean.

Alex - Thanks.

VR Barkowski said...

Observation is the writer's most powerful tool. It's free and always available for use. Nice insights.

arlee bird said...

This is an angle I hadn't thought of. I love trade shows and art festivals and the like and you are right about the different styles the the various participants will take. It's another one of those microcosm situations that an observer can use to analyze people and apply findings to characters. I like this!

Lee
Tossing It Out

Carol Kilgore said...

VR - Thanks. Writers see the world in a different way, I think.

Arlee - Thanks, Arlee. I love art festivals, too.

Hart Johnson said...

Great observations--different personalities really do come out if you just do a little people watching. Probably those quiet ones are writing in their head about you, in turn! (gorgeous flower--I love hibiscus.)

Journaling Woman said...

How true. We do that too--act and react to the people around us.

Very interesting post.

Journaling Woman said...

How true. We do that too--act and react to the people around us.

Very interesting post.

Carol Kilgore said...

Hart - I love hibiscus, too. You're probably right about the quiet ones :)

Teresa - Oh, yes. Maybe next week I'll blog about characters reacting to these police officers. I'll give you a plug.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Great examples. I think most stories need enough characters to make use all of these characteristics.

What a pretty plant.

Carol Kilgore said...

Yes, lots of characters usually. I think the plant is pretty, too.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Useful, excellent post, Carol. And love the flower.

Carol Kilgore said...

I'm happy you think so. As long as I leave the new plant alone, it will probably thrive :)

Talei said...

Hi lovely lady, I have an award for you at my blog. Please stop by when you can. ;)

Carol Kilgore said...

Oooh, cool. I'll hop right over!