Character Dives

Perhaps I should put everyone somewhere and see how they react. That place doesn’t necessarily have to be in the story directly. Let’s give them a resting point on a journey. Somewhere where everyone needs to be for a bit. Like a cafe – I spent enough time working in them to know my way around there. No – I’ve used that before. Where else? A school. Places I’ve worked since I started working. These are the Jobs in order – at least in order of my memory:

Closing envelopes at a lawyers office. Intern at a public radio station’s archives. Cashier at Save-On Drugs in the Marina. Phone room selling the Los Angeles Times. Cafeteria worker at the food court in college. Dishwasher at the food court in college. Pizza delivery guy in college. Banana Republic salesperson. Starbucks coffee guy. Regular Cafe coffee guy. Putting the clothes back in the stock room of a woman’s clothing store. Chimney Sweep salesperson. Juice Bar operator.  Waiter at a number or restaurants (This sounds interesting as it gives me a bunch of people who are in a place they are trying to get out of).

Let me stop there and try that – I think after my job waiting tables, I started in my 10 years of advertising and office scenarios that are all pretty much the same play. Maybe something at  restaurant and I could move out from there. It would have to be a fictitious place and I’m not sure where to set it, not yet anyhow. Los Angeles would seem to make sense as that’s where I waited tables most my life – though not sure I would want to do another story in Los Angeles. Brooklyn is more like it as I have yet to set anything here and have tons of notes on something happening in Brooklyn. Yes, that could be a nice setting. You would have a number of regulars that came to the restaurant, as well as people who were working there – and, even better, it allows for the random stranger to be walking in. I could even put my main character in there – The scientist who refuses to be part of the corporate world of science and biotech and instead works on things on her own time. It could be her secret. Well, let’s keep it on the ground for a bit before we decide to go racing off to the clouds. That is extremely important.

I could set it right here in Forte Greene, Brooklyn. Yes. In an old carriage house. Yes. The place could be called the carriage house. Maybe it’s haunted or something like that. Like from the ghosts of the prisoners who were on the ships just off the bay here. Ghosts. That would be interesting. What I would really like to get into is the concept of someone spending their whole life either trying to change the past – change something that was done in the past – or spend their entire life trying to save someone or something from happening. There has to be something there. Let’s try to gather a bunch of people in that restaurant and see what happens.

I have already my female lead. She’s in her 20s, early 20s. Didn’t go to college or graduated very early. She works there to make money but has a secret. Yes, that would be interesting. After work, everyone else hangs out or something, but she always runs home and gets into something.

The owner of the restaurant – We could make her an ex wall street person from Manhattan who gave it up for something and wanted to no longer work behind a desk and make money for the sake of making money. She may have divorced someone and is living out here life in Brooklyn away from Manhattan and then come over to Brooklyn to set up a shop. There, she hires people that she likes and has them all come in. Yes. This is working. I have less of that crazy anxiety in my heart where I am in the dark. Keep going. She is in her mid 30s. She should have a kid who she is raising by herself. Maybe we can make her a bit older so I can have the kid go to the High School down the street. Yes, that would be cool

Daughter of the owner of the restaurant – She is in high school and is a bit of a bad ass and severely independent. We could make her a weed head with some of the other kids in school and follow her in some adventures around there. It might be fun and interesting to do that. She could be a cool character. 16 years old and a smart, indi girl in Brooklyn who’s mom owns a carriage house restaurant. Yes. She could come in and work doing all the computer stuff and marketing. She is responsible for the place’s success, but she is not doing well for herself. Could be a very interesting character. Yes. We’ll give her a boyfriend.

Boyfriend of the daughter of the owner of the restaurant– He lives in Chinatown in Manhattan and might be the one who is showing her that there is life outside of school. He’s a bad kid – does minor crimes and might even sell drugs – not hard stuff at first, but we can follow him as he gets deeper into the game a bit. We’ll see him change that way. They have known each other since they were little and promised themselves to each other, but time and natural things that happen in life are moving them apart. It will be a struggle for them to both survive and stay together.

Waiter and love interest of the owner – This could be the stranger passing through town or student at Pratt who the owner had a crush on and hires him. He could be much younger than she is – he is closer to the age of her daughter and we might be able to play with some tension there. He is some kind of artists – photographer, painter, multi-media, graffiti- something like – and he and the older woman of the restaurant would have some kind of romantic relationship.

Customer who is in love with the owner –  This would be someone who is in love with the owner but she doesn’t want anything to do with him – we find out because he wants love and commitment – he is lost and looking for something- and the owner isn’t quite ready to give that. It would be cool if this were a ghost or something like that, but I am not sure I want to go and mix mediums here. We’ll see. I tried it a few times in Last Block and it came off a little ambiguous – which is something I want to avoid here. Make a choice and stick with it. Still, it would be cool if this character were one of those people that have worked and lived in so many places. Yes, that would be interesting.

Cat – Yes, need a little guy or so. He was a runaway or stray. I would love to be able to give him or her a point of view in the story. I might if I’m daring enough. He would be a stray cat who never got “fixed” so he goes around giving other cats kids and contributes to the booming cat population in Brooklyn. Might be fun to play with that a bit. I had a spat during the summer where I had it that all of Brooklyn had been taken over by cats, though I don’t think that would play that well for an entire story. One character her will be enough. I spend a few weeks writing the cat take-over story, so that will serve me well here.


Okay, this is developing well. As usual, I went backwards a bit over the past few months and started with story and plot and tried to fit some characters in there, but, as usual, now that they have arrived, I’m letting them and allowing them to take control of things. It’s usually best to do so at this point, otherwise, the author will get in the way and all you’ll get is someone telling you what they think and most people don’t want that. Most readers don’t – and I think, most authors don’t. So I have to continue to strip away and move myself out of the way so these folks can take over. I really do like the idea of a restaurant being in a carriage house in Forte Greene, Brooklyn. Seems like a fun spot for it all to be located in. Good movement and allows for trips to Manhattan.  Also allow for things to go on around the neighborhood. We’ll see how it all plays out. For now, I’m going to think about their interactions and movements and space out from there.

I saw The Petrified Forest the other night and was amazed at how everyone at the Gas Station set in that movie moved around each other. Should be interesting to play with. As usual, it’s all just a sketch and trying to make sense of something on paper and not in the mind. I think it would be interesting to make the general theme of all of these people ending up in one place having to deal with each other, and seeing if they ended up where they wanted in life, if they will stay, where they will go, and how those choices are going to affect their character. I’d like to focus very much on those choices this time and see what happens.






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