I found out Tuesday evening that one of my friends from high school had passed away in a car accident earlier in the day. We just celebrated our 10-year high school reunion this past July. He had just celebrated his 29th birthday a few days ago. And in an instant, he was gone. Some people may say “that’s life,” or that “it happens” and while that is certainly true, obviously true, it doesn’t make it any less shocking, or make it hurt any less.
He was one of those guys who was the epitome of a gentleman. He was always kind and polite; he always held the door for a lady and pulled out her chair. He would carry your bag for you if it were too heavy, and always asked if you wanted anything when he was going to the vending machines or the store. All in all, he was just a really great guy and the world was a little brighter with him in it.
The shock of this loss made me think about some of the men that I’ve written into my stories. The type of men that they were in the beginning, and the type of man they each will become by the end of their stories. It has surprised me greatly, over the past few hours, to discover that the men I’ve written carry so many of the characteristics that I find in the men who have surrounded me all my life.
From the 5-year old boys who selflessly share their crayons with the other kids, to the high school teenager who stops on the way to school to give rides to kids who are walking.
There are the 20-something year old men who are willing, and happy, to help babysit their friends kids; or the ones who shovel your sidewalk every morning when it’s really cold, just so that you don’t have to.
In looking at my male characters, I found one in particular who reminds me of my passed friend. My memories of him must have formed some aspect of the inspiration for the character, and through that character, for me, my friend will live on.
When working on and developing your characters, from where does your inspiration spring?