clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Friday, April 11, 2014

No Flies On Me

At left , a lovely dry fly from wikicommons courtesy Sebastian Aguilar.

I've had to do the day job a bit lately and have neglected the blog. The choice was to neglect the blog or the WIP and the blog lost.

I wish I were fishing. Instead, I was doing what I do. There it is.

In spring, a young man's fancy turns to love and for the rest of us, it turns to trout.

The truth in confidence is that I prefer the part of being outdoors in the beautiful spots trout inhabit far more than the act of fishing. Sure, I buy the fishing gear too. It also is quite beautiful. The fly above is an example. All of this just - if most fortunate - to end up in a trout's mouth.

I was thinking of the desires of characters this week. I am considering not those mere wants. I am considering those compulsions that compel action against reason.

I have a lifetime supply of fly rods and fly reels. I occasionally buy more of each. I do so against reason. Why? Probably the same reason I populate my library with more books than I'll ever get through: I like them.

What is it my protagonist desires beyond reason? Is that desire or compulsion related to the plot, or not?  What does it benefit the story is the protagonist has too many hats or a coat collection or owns forty-seven pairs of loafers? Is there an angle? Does it influence his actions in a way that aids the plot without the air of absolute contrivance?

I wonder about these things.

Once upon a time, I knew an older gentleman attorney skilled in the ways of oil rights. He was quite a character who had a collection of fountain pens. He used them with great flourish in various establishments as a means of making himself memorable to the rather ordinary residents of my little world. I knew him in the days when attorneys did not advertise.

He explained to me that these were the sorts of tricks one used when in a "special" profession. He had been in the intelligence field for a while as a younger man and walked with a cane because of a bad back and hip.

He had a service letter on his wall from Allan Dulles next to his Harvard Law diploma.

I think about the quirks of character that put individuals in unusual positions. I wonder if it is the twist of their interests and attractions that lead them to be in such unusual positions as in our stories, or if the unusual position their lives put them in reinforce what would have been quirks dismissed in a more ordinary life and not allowed to take root.

I'm not sure of the cause and effect relationship tree. I do know that many of the more influential  individuals I have known had rather unusual passions and these passions often intruded on their normal course of duties and responsibilities.

Standing in cold water and looking for trout is hardly a reasonable manner in which to procure dinner - especially when one is an avowed barbless catch-and-release fellow. However, it does influence perspective, judgement, and habituation.

Maybe you characters should adopt an ungrounded passion. It might make them more interesting.

It might make them more interesting to you and after all, that's what matters most isn't it?

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