Sunday, March 11, 2012

Treasures

I think I forgot to mention that while Judith Graves was here guest blogging for me about a favorite childhood book, I was over at her blog talking about fear, and how I used my character's fears in writing Try Not to Breathe.

The giveaway there is now closed, but if you're still in the mood for free stuff, don't forget Bryan Cohen's giveaway of his book The Post-College Guide to Happiness, plus a Kindle Fire.

And if you'd like to bid on some books and help a good cause at the same time, please hop over to the Authors for Henryville auction and raffle.

Around here, the earliest-blooming cherry trees have begun to blossom. (The cherries bloom in three phases: the early ones, like the Okame cherry; then the weeping cherries; then the late ones, like the Kwanzan cherry.) I know where all the early-blooming cherries are around here, and now that I know they're blooming, I seek them out. There's one particularly large, showy tree on a certain corner lot that I always make sure to see. If it were ever cut down, I would be dismayed. I would lose one little ritual of spring.

It got me thinking about characters and their rituals, their comforts, their treasures. My characters have just as many as I do. For Colt in The Secret Year, the river was the place that grounded him and meant "home." Ryan in Try Not to Breathe has the waterfall, the quarry, and a painting given to him by a girl he likes. The main characters in my work in progress have their own special places and items and activities.

This is actually a big part of the way I get to know a character. I always want to know what's important to him or her, where he or she turns for emotional nourishment. I may not know what he ate for breakfast or what her favorite teacher's name was, but I know what they can't stand to lose.

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