Mystery...Romance...Sci Fi...Humor... The joy of writing fiction - meeting brand new people in places that don't yet exist.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Ties That Bind

Congratulations to Melanie (kissablesweet1)!! She's the winner in our Caption Contest drawing. Melanie has selected as her prize, DEADLY HEAT by Cynthia Eden. Thanks to everyone who participated. You came up with some great captions.

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.


Maria Zannini said...

How sad for your dad. I'm sure Freckles had been a great comfort to him especially since she was a memento of your mom to him as well.

I have this theory that all my dogs will be waiting for me when I die. I just hope I'm going to the same place they're at now. LOL. I don't do well in really HOT climes. ;-)

As to your 'ties' question, that really makes a story for me. It makes me feel closer to the characters.

Dru said...

LOL at the groaner.

Mason Canyon said...

So sorry about Freckles. It's hard when we lose one of our four-legged family members. I know what you mean about the ties. It is difficult.

Thoughts in Progress

Linda Leszczuk said...

Maria - As we've talked about, they'll be waiting at the Rainbow Bridge.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Dru - Ah, I can always count on you to appreciate them.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Mason - Thanks. It is hard.

Liz Fichera said...

Your post got me all choked up. It's tough watching your parents age and the people and pets around them die. We're going through that now. Tough. Very sorry about Freckles...

Stacy McKitrick said...

So sorry to hear about the dog. I love animals and it's always tough to say goodbye.

I've decided to add a dog to my current WIP - a dog that was owned by the hero's late sister - so there will be a connection there, I think (if I ever get that far...).

Anyway, stop by my blog. I left you an award!

Linda Leszczuk said...

Liz, thanks. I wasn't trying to bring everyone down with this blog but I guess it strikes a hard note for anyone who has been or is going through it. I hope things are not too bad for you.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Stacy - I include a dog in my stories whenever possible. Probably because I include them in my life. Haven't visited anyone's blogs today (bogged down in other things) but I'll definitely pop over to yours. Thanks!