Hello everyone, Di Riley here.
Adam’s ‘what if’post (September 16) made me think about the characters in my stories and how they come to life.
The short answer is 'people watching'.
I could leave my post there really, but so much more fun to walk you down the streets of my mind and how people watching works for me.
When I was sixteenish, a friend in our youth group was doing her HSC. Her parents said she had to break off her relationship with the guy she was going out with so she could concentrate on her study.
(Very traumatic for us all at the time, after all he had just given her a ‘friendship’ ring!)
I was outraged and saddened for my friend. So I penned my frustrations in a story (changing the names to protect the innocent!).
It was there my first characters were given life in my imagination.
The story hasn't seen the light of day yet – it is in the ‘ready for the professional editor’ folder.
(Although you will be pleased to know, an amazing HSC mark was achieved, the couple resumed their relationship and they have been married for over 30 years now!)
For seven years I worked as an office lady in a K – 12 school. A treasure trove of situations, dilemmas, heroes and heroines were before my people watching eyes every day!
Student trauma over mobile phone usage soon had me typing away, my son and his friends provided much of the story line.
Oh and what about relationships – school is the perfect place to find some characters to write about, deaths and romances for the unsuspecting teachers, parents and students!
Church can be an interesting place to find characters too. People losing faith, finding faith and walking through life’s difficulties whose own characters are being built along the way in my imagination.
I now work in customer service, the tangled webs of people's lives, gives me an enormous panorama to let my people watching eyes meander over.
My parents have moved into a retirement village, from the staff to the ‘inmates’ (as I call my folks….good naturedly!) there is information a-plenty for fabulous inheritance squabbles and family tension to be relieved with a happily ever after ending.
Hope you have found this little piece amusing (maybe inspiring?), it is confidential, but perhaps you should look out if I meet up with you at conference, something you do or say might just end up in a story!
(Names and places changed for protection of the innocent, naturally!)