Finding Characters

Use Your Family and Friends

If there were a desert whirlwind of Charybdis size that gathered tale-worthy characters, it would swirl over Mohave County, Arizona, and deposit them through its vortex at Kingman.
It seems every family had a collection of notable oddballs, ranging from pre-schoolers to nonagenarian, male or female. What a rich source of characters for a writer.

Naturally, some unfortunate families had fewer of these luminaries. Some quirks occurred as the result of trauma, like diving off the cliffs into Lake Mohave, some in response to, “I dare you,” which could have been the same occurrence in this case.

We Started Early

Tattle on the Kids – It’s Time for Them to Pay

Our family was blessed.We always had a natural talent for weirdness that manifested itself at an early age in our offspring. One event comes to mind when two nephews were in a spitting contest. Their target was steaks broiling on the grill. Hit or miss, they were fascinated with the dancing bubbles or instant flash and angry hiss of charcoal briquettes. Their father had paid a large amount of his weekly salary for those steaks so he considered the boys had just tenderized them.

Another youngster was way ahead of the nightmare curve when he became convinced that Bigfoot was a clear and personal danger. At a campout, he grew increasingly agitated toward dusk. When asked what was wrong, he stated that in the past, Bigfoot had been seen near Flagstaff. He was reminded that he was 160 miles from Flag. His reply – “Do you know how fast Bigfoot can run? He can run down here and kill me and be back in Flagstaff by morning.”
Do you have that kind of faith in your antagonist?

Accomplished Cousins

I have a cousin who is a real sweetheart – since she began raising her kids. You can’t get her to admit it, but I believe she rode the rails in Texas when her dad worked for the railroad. Later, she was probably a taxi dancer at a reservation casino at Snoqualmie Pass. She’s a wonderful woman, never was a bad kid, just interesting and adventurous. I’ll have to sit down with her some day and record some tales she’s heard about. Wink, wink.
These are a few ideas for starters. Look around you with fresh eyes. What you see every day may not be quite so normal, but much more captivating, for your story.
Is there anyone in your family pen-worthy? Leave a comment.
Blog is published on Wednesdays.
Thank a veteran.

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