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The Elusive Character

December 24, 2008

Characters can seem very real in a writer’s imagination. I have been working on a character for over a year who is pretty elusive. The story is complete; I just don’t know enough about the main character to spin the tale.

He’s elderly and has a devoted daughter who lives many miles away. A representative from the Department of aging drops in on him every now and again to make sure he’s doing well. He drinks tea every day and he’s quite possessive of the beverage and his daily ritual.

I have a skeleton of a story set in place. I just need to flesh it out. It seems that the old man is a little cantankerous, even with his creator. He won’t share much of his information. He’s a widower with a great skill for grieving. His grief is one of his greatest accomplishments, at least in his mind.

Little details are missing. I have no idea what he did for a living, and even though this isn’t relevant to the story, I’d still like to know. His home is quite clear in my mind and some of the moments of the story play out in detail.

I hope that I can get this character to share a little more about himself. A name would be a nice start.

Do you have any elusive characters? How do you get the intricacies to surface?

One Comment
  1. December 24, 2008 11:53 pm

    sounds like the issues I had with my NaNo project: I had one body with three different characters/personas, and I kept stumbling over what to call them. In the end I went with a simple truncation of what they were (i.e. an “elemental” became “Ellie”), just so that I could move on with the action!

    And all those nuances? They emerged as I wrote more about them. It’s cliche, but they did kinda write themselves for me…

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