Monday, July 8, 2013

Morning Mr. and Mrs. Shalan

I heard an apocryphal story about Carl Sandburg, who was quite a fan of Abraham Lincoln.  He apparently made it a habit of strolling every morning along the shores of Lake Michigan.  Some friends of his, who knew of his fondness for the late president and also of his daily walk, decided to play a joke on him by hiring a Lincoln impersonator to walk along the lake in the opposite direction.  Sandburg, so caught up in his thoughts upon seeing the faux Lincoln, didn't even bat an eye, but simply greeted him with, "Morning Mr. President," as he passed by.

I have no idea if that story's true, but I can definitely relate.  While I wait again for editors and agents to get back to me about my first novel, I am working on my second one.  As I work I realize that I really like my main characters, Harry and Dee.  I feel like I know them, maybe better than any actual person and I wouldn't be surprised to run into them on the street.

That's one of the joys of writing fiction.  I get to create these characters that become real to me.  Despite the fact that I make them up, they still manage to surprise me.  I'll be writing along and look back at a piece of dialogue and think to myself, gee, I wonder why he/she said that?  Sometimes, rarely, I'll decide he or she said that because I did a bad job and wrote words that didn't fit.  Most of the time, though, it just takes a little thought about the character to figure out where those words came from.  What's cool is that there's so much more to the characters than what the reader will find on the pages, especially of the first book.  I know all about their childhoods, who their friends were, the major and minor traumas of their lives.  The things that make them who they are.  Without that, the characters wouldn't ring true.  I wouldn't be able to know how they would react in a given situation.

I really hope I can get these books published so readers can get to know and love Harry and Dee the way I do and, upon reading the first book, they'll want to know more about them enough to buy the second and the third and the fourth, until they know them as well as I do.

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