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We all do stuff that is outside of the stuff we do. What? I’m talking about our hobbies. Typically, we go about our daily routine of work, housework, bills, eating, etc. But in our spare time we all do some thing. Whether that thing is reading, writing, gardening, woodworking, sewing, knitting, cooking, yada, yada, we all do some thing. The thing we do says a lot about who we are. After all, we are drawn to do that thing because of our likes, interests, and talents.
Your characters will also have hobbies that they enjoy doing. And, guess what, so will your minor and secondary characters. Their thing may not show up in detail in your story line, or even at all, but by knowing what they are drawn to, you, the writer/creator will know your character more deeply. Even a singular passing comment about a minor character’s thing may be enough for the reader to better understand that character and even why they are introduced at all.
Mrs. McCready made the best pies from scratch. Everyone in town would come to her porch to eat and visit.
And that’s why our main character seeks out Mrs. McCready – if there is town gossip or information she’ll have it. What other traits does an excellent scratch baker have? Knowledge of in-season fruits – indicates a knowledge of farming/agriculture. Ability to knead and roll pie crust – stamina and strength. Pie crust in particular is temperamental and subject to the effects of humidity and temperature. Anyone who can make a superb pie crust from scratch has to know ratios and balance and adapt a recipe in microns to adjust for temperatures and moisture. And just by mentioning that Mrs. McCready made the best pies from scratch, we know all this about her.
Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have a wonderful website and blog, Writers Helping Writers. They offer a tremendous amount of insight into writing and characterization. They have also written a number of books that help with showing character traits, emotions, etc. All of their books made our must read list in the April Pilcrow & Dagger issue Miscellany article. If you missed it you can purchase a digital version or a print version to see the list. Also on their website they are compiling a new thesaurus of Talents and Skills.
Me? Yes, I love to cook – and I’m good at it – which is why I need to lose weight. But I also enjoy knitting, crocheting, needlepointing, Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, and people watching. What does that say about me? What do your hobbies and skills and talents say about you?
Hey! the submission window for July is about to close! Do you have a dream you’d like to submit? AND the submission window for the August/September issue is open. The theme is the 1st day of school. Do you have a story about your first day of school? – as a kindergartener, high school or college freshman? as a new teacher or administrator? as a parent whose child goes to school for the first time? as the new kid at a new school?