I am working on the second book in my Silver Shores series. The working title is “Pros and Cons” and I am about 25,000 words into a book I forsee will end around 90,000.
Writing has always come easy to me. I’ve written a lot of crap in my life, but I’ve never been at a loss for words. There was always something to say. But when I was but a few chapters in to this new story the man, my dear friend, that served as model for my character, Patrick, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He died exactly three weeks after his diagnosis. To say I was devastated doesn’t begin to describe it.
Make no mistake, these books are works of fiction. However, they are based in an industry, a world if you will, that I spent most of my career involved with and there were traits, good and bad, of actual people that I incorporated into my characters. The character of Patrick though was my friend to a tee. There were a few liberties taken to drive the story but his essence was there…no doubt about it.
There are two reasons I must have done a good job; first, those that read the book and also knew him recognized him in the character and I wanted that. Second, those that hadn’t met him still recognized and remarked on Patrick’s goodness, his kindness, and of how much they liked him; exactly the reaction my friend drew wherever he went.
Though it may be a strange concept to non-writers it is absolutely true that one’s characters exist. They speak to the writer with their own unique voice and their very individual personalities. They “demand” the dialogue and action involving them play out a certain way. But, they also show their compassion, their humanity, their empathy.
On the day “my” Patrick left us, I was working on a scene where he played a major part. I just stopped writing…I couldn’t do it and it has taken me several weeks to sit down at the keyboard again. He has more he is anxious to say, more he wishes to contribute and I fear I cannot do him justice. I don’t know that I possess the ability to portray him as he should be.
Writing is easy, until it isn’t.