Monday, April 4, 2011
Now on to today's topic -
We had a sad event in the family this weekend. My dad had to have his aged cocker spaniel, Freckles, put to sleep. I felt bad for my dad, of course, but there was something more. Something personal. I realized it was because Freckles had been my mom's dog, too, before Mom passed away five years ago. Freckles had been a tie to the past for me and losing her was like losing another little piece of my mom.
We all have them, our ties to the past. Old friends, places we go back to, things we keep "because of the memories". They're part of who we are. But what about our characters? When you're creating a character, especially a main character, do you remember to give him/her those ties that bind? A mention of a keepsake, the story behind a favorite resturant, a reference to an old friend - even if these things don't figure prominently in your story - will give your character a sense of personal history. So that you and your readers will remember this character's life did not begin with chapter one.
Do you add personal ties to the past for your characters? What kind do you use?
I'm currently enjoying: Beaglemania by Linda O. Johnston
Groaner of the day: The four Goldberg brothers, Lowell, Norman, Hiram, and Max, invented and developed the first automobile air-conditioner. On July 17, 1946, the temperature in Detroit was 97 degrees. The four brothers walked into old man Henry Ford’s office and sweet-talked his secretary into telling him that four gentlemen were there with the most exciting innovation in the auto industry since the electric starter.
Henry was curious and invited them into his office. They refused and instead asked that he come out to the parking lot to their car. They persuaded him to get into the car, which was about 130 degrees, turned on the air conditioner, and cooled the car off immediately.
The old man got very excited and invited them back to the office, where he offered them $3 million for the patent. The brothers refused, saying they would settle for $2 million, but they wanted the recognition by having a label, “The Goldberg Air Conditioner” on the dashboard of each car in which it was installed.
Now Henry wasn't about to have anyone's name on his cars but his own. They haggled back and forth for about two hours and finally agreed on $4 million, and that just their first names would be shown.
And so to this day, all Ford air conditioners show “Lo”, “Norm”, “Hi”, and “Max” on the controls.