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Thursday, March 26, 2009

She Tugged Her Cap

Story information can flow in the oddest ways sometimes. Today, it happened twice.

It kind of started this morning on the drive in to work. My Polynesian heroine started talking to me--after being silent for nearly two weeks! One of the things she said that gave me an insight into her character was that people make assumptions about her based on her looks, but she's a lot different than her appearance suggests.

This was a big one for me because I have her picture, but couldn't connect with her. She just seemed too...I don't know, fragile, flighty, something and I was finding difficult to relate to the woman in that image. And then I got more. She's the responsible one and her degree is in accounting! Um, okay, I would never have figured that out by looking and I knew I had the right picture. I'd spent too many hours searching and I just kept coming back to that one over and over.

So this was the opening salvo and it helped me. Her personality doesn't fit her appearance.

This evening, while I was writing chapter one from her Point of View (POV), she tugged down a pink baseball cap. I was like, okay, she likes pink. What kind of baseball cap? Is there something on it?

I did a quick image search and one of the first pictures I found was a fuchsia baseball cap with a light pink ribbon on it. Breast cancer. This was important, I knew it right away. The question immediately became why this hat? I still don't have all the answers, but I'm pretty sure my heroine never had breast cancer. I'm also 100% that someone she loves has or had it and she wears the cap for that person. Now I just need to figure out who that person is.

This also helps me learn my heroine's personality and it helps me be able to write her. I have trouble relating to the picture of my character, but I can relate to a woman who loves someone enough to support/remember them by wearing a baseball cap for breast cancer.

Earlier this week, I talked about my characters surprising me and how much I love it. This is one of those surprises that I can't believe others don't have--and if they don't have these moments, how they can possibly not miss them. (Yes, you can't miss what you've never had, but still, this kind of discovery is just too exciting.) This actually made me hugely excited, excited enough that I was able to come up with a whole blog post about it and excited enough that I can't wait to get back to writing this story.