22 August 2013

Vacationing With Characters in Your Head

So, would Alec like surfing?
It happens sometimes before I realize it.

I'm on a day trip with the family or one of the rare occasions when I get to travel myself and I starting thinking "what would X do in this situation?"

I suppose it's inevitable for a writer and it reminds me of something Jennifer Crusie said years ago during a keynote speech at a National RWA meeting:

Most people, when given an hour of free time, do not run to their computer and make up stories.

For me, that storytelling roams further than the keyboard.

Which characters like amusements parks? How would my historical characters react to current technology? Is this the kind of city/small town where they'd love to work?

Alec Farley, my firestarter from Phoenix Rising, has the most fun in my head. He was raised in a very structured environment, with few chances to experience the outside world. Oh, he's been to New York City now and then and his special ops team (all male) made sure to take him out to bars and clubs, but average human experiences aren't average to him. Every day of his new freedom is a day filled with the new and shiny.

He's never looked at the ocean or the forest with tourists' eyes, only from a tactical viewpoint. So he loves the small town in Maine where Beth hides him in PR and, as the story ends, he's eager to see anything and everything.

It's always fun to imagine Alec at Six Flags because I wonder whether he'd find roller coasters pedestrian (he can fly, so what's a coaster to him?) or if he'd love experiencing something so wild without having to use his powers. It goes without saying that he'd use his telekinesis to cheat a little bit at the games and thus get prizes to give away to his girl or, more likely, to some little kid trying their best to get that stuffed bunny but failing.

But Alec might have the most fun doing something that requires challenges human skills. Something like surfing.

I have this lovely scene in my head where the hero of the yet unpublished book three in the Phoenix Institute series, Richard, teaches Alec how to surf.

As a 600-year-old immortal, Richard's seen everything but the ocean is endlessly unpredictable and that's what he loves about it. Alec would see the ocean as this wondrous thing and would jump at the chance to experience it close-up, as surfers do.

I can already see the bromance <g> brewing in my head.

And that's good because one of the advantages of having imaginary people in your head  is it can make familiar places seem new or experiences that seem a little too scary suddenly fascinating.

I wonder if it's too late to learn to surf?
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