Once upon a time I wanted to be a doctor, a cardiologist if you want to get more specific. The path took me to get my Bachelor Degree in Natural Sciences with the vision on mind of wearing one day the white coat with my name on it preceded by DR. Yep! That was the plan in my head, but life dealt me a different hand. It took me straight to motherhood; I became a housewife and not as the ones portrait in Bravo. With it came something more: WRITING. I took it on, replacing the old dream with a new. And here I am now, carrying not a stethoscope, but a pen and small book everywhere.
Sometimes I find myself scouting for characters, traits in people I meet in the supermarket or in my daughter’s school. Characters that will make a story feel more real. Being the soul of a story and one of the most important keys of a book, trying not to make a perfect not without faults character tends to be a little hard. So looking and taking notes of characteristicS, way of expressing, mannerisms, a distinct trait… helps me understand what I want of a character.
For this new book I’m writing, I’m taking from those around me. Is not so much as for the reader to feel they know that character or that it feels real, but more for me. I want to feel he or she is real, imagine his or her eyes with their pierce stare, the way they breathe when excited or mad, and their peculiar way of walking, how they toss their hair, etc. I take from those around me and make them something new for my characters after I give them a little shake; I even dare take two and combine them into one. Taking from reality is quite a challenge, for us Puerto Ricans have a way of being ourselves very different from others and I say this in a good way. If you have met a Puerto Rican before, you know what I’m talking about. We are lively, lovable, out there, don’t get into our business, love to live life to its fullest, candid spirit, family oriented people. There is more, but it will be a long list!
We have fire burning in our veins and we make awesome fiction characters, and this is what I’m taking from the people around me. A character chart helps me along the way; every time there is a new one to be introduced I take notes and then write it on the chart. Take out, make some additions, and give it some spice here and there and flaws for nobody is perfect inside or outside.
Be in the lookout for your characters, they might be sitting right now next to you. Get the yummy insights on them and don’t be shy like me, start a conversation and write down even what they are wearing. Fashion too speaks of a person and can tell you a little bit more about their character. Enjoy the scouting!