Who in your life would be a book character?

family story

I want to know the story of the 1900s woman at far left; what is that smile about? Image courtesy of bandini, Morguefile.

Last week, I had coffee with someone who knows my current town well, having lived there for decades. We talked about the town’s history and she mentioned some people that I should get to know. To her, it’s important that the history they know gets preserved before it is lost forever.

I understand that and empathize with her. There is an African proverb that says, “When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground.” (Yep, it applies to women too.)

I bet these local people are real characters. It would be fun to write a book about their memories, if someone hasn’t done that already.

Someone asked me on Thanksgiving Day if I’d ever contemplated writing a book.  A church friend of mine who reads my posts suggested that I should convert my blog posts into a book.

Sometimes I’ve fantasized about writing a book set in a certain period of history such as the Civil War, the Regency era or World War II. Doing the research for that one would be tremendous entertainment.

If I ever did write a book, I’d definitely pick some characters from my hometown. There is one homeless man that I keep seeing at the library using one of their computers. He always seems to sit at the same place and he has a noble-looking face that reminds me of Morgan Freeman.

Another character would be some of the people I talk with at my local farmer’s market.  One of them is a jewelry maker and the other is a husband-and-wife couple who are incredible bakers. I chat with all of them whenever I make it to the market.

There’s a woman at my church who would be a great character.  She is a devout fan of the Washington Redskins (!) and has gone to their games for 50 years. (Yes, you read that right. I said 50 YEARS.)

My family would make some good characters too. There are some stories that have been passed down about my older relatives over the years. According to my sib, one of my Civil War era relatives once sold a horse to a man and was straight with him about the qualities that the horse possessed. Later on, the buyer came back and gave my relative some extra money for his honesty.

One great-uncle fought during D-Day. He landed on a beach in France (I think it was Omaha) at night and managed to survive it. He picked up a seashell to remember it and recorded some info about the battle inside the shell. We still have it.

I had the chance to hold my newest cousin on Thanksgiving Day. She’s three months old and just entering the story of her new life, and I hope it turns out to be a good one.

There are stories in everyone as they progress through their lives. How many stories have been lost before they were recorded, I wonder?

As a blogger, I’m constantly fascinated by the stories that other people relate in their own personal or business blogs and how they filter those experiences through their own viewpoints and life experiences.

Readers: Do you know someone who would be a great character for a book? Let’s talk about it.



Filed under Writing

18 responses to “Who in your life would be a book character?

  1. Me! And I’m writing just that very book. 😀

  2. I met this 60 year old guy who sits in the coffee shop across from my clients office. He has pile of chart paper sheets. He draws the same picture of a sloop on each one. He sells them for a living. He made a sketch of me on a napkin and presented it to me. I found out he’s called Sailor Dan and he’s a bit of a character here in Sakatoon. I’ve been looking for him so I can interview him, but time is running out because my gig here ends in 3 weeks.

    There are many family members I would use, though I think if create composites.

    I’m in the process of polishing up my first ever piece if fiction, a short story, and I think some people may recognize some character traits.

  3. cherbro

    Your post reminded me of some great video images where old photos are reenacted or reimaged to tell the story of the photograph. Stunning. Slightly off track I know.http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/245.2009.a-f/

    Genivieve Grieves. Visual stories. Great stuff

  4. For so many years in our childhood and maybe into young adulthood the others in our lives are often either role models to copy, assets who can help us along our way or obstacles to be avoided. Life takes on such a magical quality, though, when we learn to value each and every soul that we come across. Through those fully-opened eyes we come to learn and to love the many characters that populate the grand narrative that we’ve been privileged to play a part in. Yes, indeed there are quite a few such characters in my life but I fear that the scope of the story they tell would be much too broad for me to ever tackle. Perhaps I will wait for a bit and just select a sub-set of the story. But which one? An ongoing problem to be tackled, for sure!

  5. I’ve always loved the idea of writing stories based around real people and their lives, part fiction, part truth, everyone has interesting stories to tell about their lives, even if they don’t realise it. It could be about one person, or several people, but the key is to find a solid hook to hang everything on to. Then you’ve got a book.

    There are certainly plenty of people in my life that I would love to write about sometime!

  6. My dad sneaks into my stories all the time. He is the go to guy when I need a vaguely irresponsible yet happily chipper fellow.

  7. an ancestor of mine, Simon Girty, is said to have crossed the Detroit River holding onto the tail of his horse, but he has already been a character in many a book


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