Where do you find your characters?

On a recent flight to Las Vegas I was fortunate enough to be accompanied by a group of Pool players.  I use the word fortunate because I had given my muse the responsibility of coming up with a topic for my next blog as I settled back to enjoy my vacation.  I am finding that my muse has somewhat a sense of humor.  The group of gentlemen was on their way to Las Vegas to participate in a Pool Tournament.  They ranged in age from early 20’s to late 50’s or early 60’s.  Some were sons, fathers, boyfriends; but they were all men.  Men not accompanied by their mates.  They were left alone to their own vices.  Left to be the judge of whether or not their behavior was socially acceptable for public observation.  My muse decided to use this opportunity to take note of possible characters for future stories.

I was enjoying reading my latest book ‘Once Smitten, Twice Shy’ by Lori Wilde and my husband drowning out noise with his mp3 player.  The flight started out to be very uneventful with just the normal chatter between passengers.  There was an occasional joking reference as the stewardess’ did their normal cabin check for fastened seat belts and carry-on luggage correctly stored in the above bins or under the seat in front of you.  The most noise was baby babble coming from an infant in the rear of the airplane until the stewardess began serving drinks and snacks.  This group of Pool Players came alive. 

The rows of passengers lucky enough to be sitting within ear shot of this group of men were, needless to say, entertained.  One of the members of the group became the butt of their jokes when he fell asleep shortly after the flight took off.  I pity him when he views the pictures that were taken during his nap.  My muse kicked in.  He would be a great character for a murder/mystery novel.  Blackmailed with the pictures he could plot to get even somehow.  Maybe he was in hiding and didn’t want his picture taken.  The possibilities are endless.    

The gentleman sitting next to him became the funny, prank-playing character who is always the third wheel.  Eager to assists his friends into trouble with their mates, he was always there to fill the empty time they suddenly had on their hands.  He never takes the time to coordinate his attire which looks as if he had picked it up off the bedroom floor as he ran to catch the plane.  His hair is in need of a new style because the Weird Al look isn’t for him.  This is the character who can never understand why none of his pal’s girlfriends will set him up on a blind date.

Taking notice of the three characters sitting across from him didn’t escape my muse’s attention either.  There was one on the end of the isle who took great care with his dress and looks.  His hair perfectly coiffed, his shirt pressed neatly along with his shorts.   His sandals carefully selected to match his attire.  His fingernails perfectly manicured.  He was on the prowl.  Free from his wife for a few days of male bonding.  There is one rule which should have been explained to him before he began partaking in adult beverages during his male bonding session.  That rule is not to make barking noises at the young women walking up and down the aisle of the plane especially if her boyfriend is within ear shot.  If he is bigger than you, wearing a tight sleeveless t-shirt exposing his well defined muscles and has barbed wire tattooed across his massive bulging bicep.  (The boyfriend will be a character who will show up somewhere in one of my books.)

The oldest of the three gentlemen would make a perfect character captured in a scene in need of some comic relief.  He left his seat to ‘visit the facilities’ for the 3rd or 4th time.  Upon his return he began taking a poll of everyone on the flight going to Vegas.  Considering it was a non-stop flight from Des Moines to Las Vegas it was a little amusing how many people had to stop and think about it.  He returned to his seat after the laughter subsided only to declare he was drunk which was apparent to everyone but him.  Taking his cap off to rub his head he shared his discovery he was also bald.   

The younger gentlemen sitting close to my husband and I made the comment to another of the group “I wish I had a tape recorder that I could put right above his head because stuff like this you have to have recorded you just can’t write it.”  My muse took note of this comment and presented it to me sounding like a dare to a writer looking for an idea for her next blog and a few new characters for her future stories.

Deanne Williams

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.”
-Robert Bresson