If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

August Interviews

8/5 Lucy Burdette, The Key Lime Crime

8/12 Maggie Toussaint, All Done With It

8/19 Julie Mulhern, Killer Queen

8/26 Debra Goldstein, Three Treats Too Many


August Guest Bloggers


8/8 Leslie Wheeler

8/15 Jean Rabe


August Interviews

8/22 Kait Carson

8/29 WWK Authors--What We're Reading Now













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Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!


Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!


Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.


KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.


Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."


Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.


Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Finding Characters



People often ask me how I get my characters for my writing. I tell them, just look around, they are everywhere.

For instance, in Home Sweet Home, my WIP, I have an elderly lady with dementia. My mom and an aunt had this and I can relate to the things my mom did. She blew up the microwave by putting in a can of soup, and burned so much food in the oven that I was asked to find her somewhere else to live. Somehow she managed to break the handles off cups, put them back into the cupboard with the handles against them, and of course when you reached for a cup all you got was the handle. Although some of the things she did weren’t funny at the time, when I write them now, I can find the humor.

I retired from Seminole State College several years ago, but return during registration to do orientation and advising. I meet a lot of folks who would make good characters in my writing. Recently I had a student who would make a perfect spoiled brat. He demanded my attention, taking his finger and pounding it on the book, and informed me in high school they “did registered us.” I smiled sweetly and told him now that he's grown up, he gets to learn how to do these things for himself.

 I had a fireman visit my office to see what classes he needed. Young, good looking, he had a nice personality. But he said his job wasn’t dangerous enough. I’d choose him to be a detective or PI, someone who enjoyed the thrill of the chase. Sort of like Castle on TV.

If I wanted someone to be caring, like for a doctor or nurse, there’s the young Hispanic man who told me how he worried about his grandparents. He was model handsome, which means he’d be a good doctor character for women to drool over.

The man from the mailroom was furious when the dean took his cart and gave it to me to use. He got to the point where he glared at me, and I asked the dean to return it. Older, short with spiked white hair, he would be a good character whom no one would suspect as the murderer of an advisor who stole his cart.

There’s always the sweet little old lady who no one would suspect of masterminding a gang of art thieves. Or the mechanic who smiles at you while ripping you off or disconnecting the brakes on a car for the money a woman or man paid him so they could be rid of their mate.

If you journal, start taking notes of people around you, their body movements, the twitch of the eyes, the way they move their hands or the way they smile. Is the smile real, fake, sarcastic, or evil. Also make use of the newspaper or TV for characters. In my WIP I needed a woman who would sell babies. Two weeks later a scandal appeared of a grandmother who tried selling her grandson. It turns out she said selling babies was a family tradition. 

Really!

Dee Gatrell

4 comments:

Pauline Alldred said...

You're right, Dee, characters are everywhere. One group I constantly return to--kids I knew in high school. Their characters and quirks are somehow burned into my memory. Since I've moved far away from where I went to school, I sometimes provide life paths for them. When I've finally met up with one of them, I've sometimes been shocked by how they've changed.

Warren Bull said...

What always amuses me is that none of the people my characters are modeled after ever recognize themselves in my work. Years ago I was told by a friend that the true test of an A-hole is that when you call him an A-hole he will think you're joking. Of course any resemblance between any of my character and any person, living of dead, is purely coincidental.

E. B. Davis said...

The grandmother sounds like a new entry in the "fact is stranger than fiction" file, which is one reason I try to keep reading about real crimes. I could never dream up the stuff that actually happens.

Pauline, I agree. High school students once known are great characters. Few people do we know as well as those we grew up among during our formative years and for a duration (at least in the US) of twelve years.

E. B. Davis said...

P.S.--LOL, Warren!