Critter Robin reported to me this weekend that my chapter 4 really flowed. I reported back that it takes me four chapters to get into my character's heads. Now, if I did all the "correct" stuff and fully outlined my characters beforehand, I might get off the starting block a little quicker. I do outlines, but they seem more like rap sheets. Even when I do the character "interview," it seems forced. I don't really get to know them until I've put them on stage and watched for a while. The good news is I find myself truly loving these characters of Trout, Michigan, home of the River Bend Diner. I'm discovering details of their backgrounds as I go, and they are fascinating! I'd love to sit down at the River Bend's lunch counter, cup of Green Mountain coffee in hand, and have long conversations with Fred, Jerry, or Claudia.
This is off the cuff, but I think being a late-blooming Christian helps. People who knew me twenty years ago wouldn't regognize me now. I'm a "new man" as the apostle Paul says it. We're also supposed to see others the same way--as works in progress. I see my characters that way. My readers get a quick snapshop at the first introduction, then are slowly fed more information as they go. They'll find that the pleasant ones have rather frightening pasts and the bad ones didn't come into the world with murder on their minds.
I'm told if I enjoy my characters and my writing, my readers will as well. We'll see.