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  • January 25th, 2009 | 11:26 AM
7 characters from my WIP and why I love them

Several people in the past have given me and my blog various awards and I need to apologize if I have not jumped in with an immediate reply. I am trying to do better in the future. Thanks to  [info]jamarattigan for awarding me the Kreativ Blogger award.


The idea is to share 7 things that you love. I really liked Jama's suggestion of 7 songs that she would stay in the car for so she could hear the ending.

My first thought was to post the 7 writing books I reread every year but then I realized I had more than 7 so I will save that for another post. I briefly considered the 7 blogs I have to read every day but again, that number was more than 7. I would love to be creative and share the 7 characters I love best from children's books but alas, I read sooo many books that my memory holds the story but not the character, not always, until something triggers it. 7 television shows? Hmmm, perhaps.

But I think I am going to tell you about the 7 characters I love from current WIP projects that I hope to finish in the near future. I have to love them in order to work on them, right? And note that "near future" does not correspond to a calendar. Not setting myself up for failure on that one. No way. But here are 7 characters from various WIP and why I love them.

#1 Flyboy
Flyboy is the MC in the YA prose novel I am working on now. I love Flyboy because he is me. Substitute his love of flying for my love of writing and we are the same person, well except for the fact that he's a guy and I'm a girl. And he's going to get the answers to questions I'll never get the answers to. And he has a pilot's license. And a dad. But except for that we're practically the same person. He is insecure when he shouldn't be. He worries about the past and what it says about his future. He speaks first and deals with the consequences later. He is horribly flawed in search of family connections and when I finish his story I am going to have a meltdown akin to the one I had when I finished Hugging the Rock.

#2 Plant Kid.
Plant Kid is the MC in a MG prose novel that is hovering on the sidelines at the moment. I love Plant Kid because he is an awkward pre-teen who is trying to find his way in the world and can't seem to figure out where he fits in. His best efforts often backfire but darned if he doesn't keep coming back for more. When he discovers the beauty in nature and makes the connections to his own life, I can see him blossom like a garden in spring. Come to think of it, he's me too.

#3 Max & Frankie 
Max & Frankie star in a MG prose novel that is still very new though the characters have been with me for about 5 years. I love Max & Frankie because well, Max is a dog and I love dogs - all dogs, all shapes and sizes and breeds and dispositions. I love Frankie because he is a tireless crusader for Max despite his own unenviable circumstances. He really and truly believes that loving someone, something, is enough in this world. Hmmm...I'm started to see another connection to, you guessed it, me.

#4 Cooper.
Cooper is the hero, flawed as he is, in a MG verse novel where an impulsive act has far reaching consequences. On one hand I understand why Cooper did what he did. On the other hand, I can't believe Cooper did what he did. Some of Cooper's story is inspired by previous workshops I have taught at alternative schools. Some of it will no doubt be inspired by the current workshop I am doing with incarcerated teens. And a part of it is inspired by events in my own life, so yes, part of Cooper is me too.

#5 Paolo
Paolo first showed up in a picture book that got many wonderful comments from editors (in rejection letters) about the beautiful language. Alas, there was also a distinctive lack of plot. What I have finally realized is that Paolo's story is much bigger than a picture book. It is an entire novel. A MG historical novel which will involve a tremendous amount of research. Paolo's wants in life are simple; a warm bed at night, enough food to eat, someone who loves him. But the simplest things in life often elude us when we need to focus all our energies on just staying alive. There is a part of me, the part of me that lived and died and in New Orleans, that breathes in Paolo. If I can bring that emotional energy to his story I may be able to let go of some of my own pain.

#6 Hannah
Hannah is my grandfather's best friend. She follows him everywhere and relives the parts of my childhood that I cherish the most. Hannah also came to me in a picture book first. And her story was also rejected, many times. Though the rejection letters were filled with praise the fear of it being too nostalgic was very real. I know now that I need a whole MG novel in order to tell Hannah's story. But first I need to find a way to make it more her story and less mine. I think they may be a mystery involved. I'm not sure.

#7 Missy
Poor Missy. Ever since her mother died her life has never been the same. Especially after the guy moved in across the street with nothing more than a duffle bag and one other very important item. Her obsession may be her downfall or her salvation, I'm not sure which. I have rewritten the first chapter of Missy's story, a MG prose novel, more times than I can count. Every word, every sentence, is exactly as I want it to be. But therein lies the problem. I devoted so much time to that first chapter that it has sat in the drawer for a dozen years waiting for me to find the creative energy to unlock the rest of the story. In this way it is much like me, waiting for years for the opportunity to follow my heart, never realizing that baby steps in that direction really would be enough to get me started.

The common thread in all these characters is my love for them but also it is that a part of me is in each of them. I think it is the only way I know how to bring a character to life.

If I tag you and you don't want to play along, don't beat yourself up about it (which is what I always do.) And if I don't tag you and you want to play along, please do. Tell us your 7 things that you love.

 For now, I pass the Kreativ Blogger award on to:[info]beckylevine , [info]janni [info]moyer_girl , [info]hulabunny ,  [info]d_michiko_f ,[info]meredith_wood and[info]seaheidi

(Tags: )
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 9 comments — Leave comment )
January 25th, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC)
oOOOH, I'm so honored!

thanks you!!

January 26th, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
You're very welcome. Looking forward to your list!
(Deleted comment)
January 26th, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. You can't know how much your words have touched me tonight. Sigh. Perfect timing.
January 26th, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing these characters!! What a splendid idea, and I feel your love for them. Sounds like they'll be keeping you busy for quite some time :)!
January 26th, 2009 05:43 am (UTC)
Thanks, Jama. I seem to always hear a lot of voices in my head, these characters of mine. Now to get their stories on paper.
January 26th, 2009 01:49 am (UTC)
Susan, thanks for the tag. I'm going to save this for later in the week, when I'm trying to think of a topic! And I can see why you're in love with all these characters! :)
January 26th, 2009 05:43 am (UTC)
I know you're swamped so if you don't do it...don't feel bad, ok?
January 26th, 2009 06:26 am (UTC)
Aww, I'm honored. I will have to think of what to put in my list, but I'm looking forward to responding!
January 27th, 2009 12:45 am (UTC)
I can't wait to see what you come up with!
( 9 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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"Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties."
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