Last week Tori had just arrived home. Otis met her at the ferry in his taxi cab. As Tori was driving the taxi up Main Street, Mayor Carver jumped out in front of her wearing a miner’s hat.
Tori rolled down the window and heard chirping before she uttered a word.
“New peeps.” Otis said.
Not exactly certain why hearing those words out of Otis’s mouth felt uncomfortable, Tori giggled. “I don’t see any people Otis.” He really did need to wear his glasses.
“Not people, Satori. George and Gracie hatched a clutch of peeps just last week.”
A little line of fuzzy yellow balls stretched across the road following behind one of the wild chickens that called Starlight Cove home. Gracie’s copper feathers glowed in Janine’s headlights as she led her kids across the road. Other towns had stray alley cats, this place had stray chickens and the occasional stray egg.
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The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place. Barbara Deangelis
My dream is for my characters to live and breathe on the page. They should be quirky, like the rest of the world. Setting is also an important character. It lives and breathes and speaks by awakening all the senses. Can it also have quirks?!
I started thinking about quirks after reading a post in Cyndi Briggs blog The Sophia Project. In her post, It’s July: Let Your Freak Flag Fly, Cyndi states, “I bet your odd self has it’s own ways of grabbing your attention, of reminding you that for all your trying, there’s a hint of crazy in you that craves some fresh air and freedom.”
This is exactly what a reader wants in a character. The hero that is tall, handsome and always says the right thing = boring. If the same hero fumbles and spills ketchup on his shirt every time he gets nervous, the reader feels a connection.
Can this be accomplished through setting as well? Can a setting be quirky and odd?
I’ve been exploring that concept as I write more of my discovery draft. The above photograph, courtesy of Mike Hamilton, is an aerial view of Black River in Renton. This is the place where Tahoma fell from his nest as a heron fledgling and shifted into human form. This alone does not make the place quirky. It is surrounded by the modern-day expansion of a business park, satellite dishes, and a train off in the distance. Something however, is keeping the spot protected. Is it the quirky magic of Black River?
One scene I was writing today has me considering the magic of this place. Tahoma is now in human form and setting off on his adventure. He looks down at his reflection in the Black River, the image reflected back is a heron fledgling. Could the quirk of this place be that your true essence is reflected in these waters? Could the fresh air and freedom in this magical place be a mirror reflecting your true image, not the mask people wear in our day-to-day life?
Magic lives and breathes here, if you slow down and take the time to notice it.