Some people are real characters, which helps my writing. I’m trying to write fiction for the first time, and my gut instinct is to not make the main character too colorful because he won’t be believable. However, I’m reading a novel right now that is written to be very believable, and it’s terribly boring.
Anyhow, I was at the Barnes & Noble cafe reading a book when I met the aforementioned real character. This white woman was like 65 or whatever and had tits hanging down to her waist. She was sitting at a little table several feet away from me. To my right was a man sitting at his own table, reading a book.
All of a sudden this lady just starts clearing her throat and sounding like she’s going to cough up mucus at regular intervals a few seconds apart. And she doesn’t stop for a couple minutes. Then, out of nowhere, she looks at the man to my right and loudly says, “I heard Madonna had six abortions!” Then she repeats the whole routine again, with the coughing and hacking and snorting, before she stands and walks over to the guy and says, “You know A-Rod, I hear they call him Stray-Rod. He’ll go for anything. And I don’t know about that Jennifer Lopez. She’s been married a few times herself.” And finally, I ran into this woman again at the help desk when she was chastising one of the workers about the Ten Commandments.
If you’re a writer, play up your characters! Give them idiosyncrasies that will bring them to life. Sure, there are plenty of boring, vanilla people in this world, but every now and then you run across some loon who shows you that people can be very “extra” as the kids are saying these days. And, even if fiction sounds unbelievable, I’m not sure that it matters. It is, after all, fiction. Just a story.
Write on. Read on.