Except the ‘characters’ in my novel, apparently.
The first rule of writing a novel (which I’ve just made up): Characters must be dynamic and relatable.
Who can relate to a perfect person? A perfect person. You and I both know just how many of those species exist.
When asking my grandmother about my protagonist May Lacey (my grandma’s grandma), the first thing she told me was, “As a child my grandmother was one of two people who I thought was absolutely perfect. I can’t remember who the other person was now.”
And by the looks of everything I’ve read, she was perfect.
She was selfless, hardworking, devoted to God and her family, an amazing hostess and cook, caregiver and companion. She was cheerful, never lost her temper, brought joy wherever she went, and the list goes on. All characteristics I’ve either been told, or read about by others in the letters they wrote, nope, not traits I have made up on my own.
Who can be that perfect? She has to have at least some flaws.
Oh, right – she didn’t like to knit. Big whoop! I wouldn’t dare to call that a ‘flaw.’
Willie on the other hand repeatedly fell asleep on the podium while others preached. Hilarious, and relatable. Who doesn’t fall asleep in church? I mean . . . uuhh, shame on him! What a horrible habit!
But beyond that, the characteristics I have found describing him are just as virtuous and squeaky clean as May’s.
This is what is holding me back from writing writing. I have yet to discover their flaws. Flaws that give them depth and dynamics that anyone reading would resonate with, would compel them to care about these people.
On a completely unrelated note, I discovered a treasure trove of pictures, so at least now I have images of most of the ‘cast of characters’ which means I won’t have to create people’s looks from just my imagination or guess work (which would be fine if these were people I made up, but not so good to do when the characters are actual people).
Sitting in front of me is Jerry Allen Moon’s “W.C. White and Ellen G. White: The Relationship between the Prophet and Her Son.” I’m hoping to find some serious flaws somewhere in the 456 pages. Beyond that, I still have a trip to make to the ‘home office’ in Maryland where many more letters and documents await my arrival (hopefully in November). I also have a few more family members who actually knew my ‘characters’ that I hope to meet with to learn their memories and perceptions of these fine people.
And if I can’t find flaws from any of those other sources, I suppose I’ll just have to pray for direction and inspiration and wing it.
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Daily I am working on this project and yet, actual pages written still = 0.