I just finished a short story which owes much to the short story I wrote just before it. Their subjects and plots are different and so are their characters.
The first short featured Randy. The story was written in first person. When I began it, I simply was using myself. Not satisfying. I tend to be logical but emotional, analyzing and weighing risks, but not macho. But I had a friend who tended to be emotional without logic, rarely thinking about the consequences of his actions, saying the hell with risks, I have to live with myself first and be a man. That was Randy.
So Randy started writing the story, and it became Randy's body, Randy's reactions. Randy, a big guy, likes to mix it up. Using Randy like this changed the story's dynamics. Then I expanded on Randy's personality quirks, bending them toward obsessions. Many people don't know these things about Randy but he shared them with me. He brushes his teeth six times a day. He has three toothbrushes for the task and another at work. He must have a two fresh towels and a fresh wash cloth. He is obsessive about keeping his home and car neat and clean. The laundry must be done every day. He can't stand baskets of dirty clothes. He says he can smell them and the thought of mold and bacteria growing on them disturbs him.
Just as a note, Randy is not his name, just in my head. The guy's name is something else. People that know him that read the story could well say, that's so and so. It is...mostly. Some of the things Randy does in the story, he would never admit to doing, and the story's character is more obsessive and compulsive than my friend.
After writing the story, the next one became much better, faster and easier to write when I substituted another old friend. I've done this before, of course, but the difference each time was that I used my interpretation of the friends' voices, rather than writing in my voice to describe their actions. I don't know if it makes sense but it was a lot of fun. As I say, it was very satisfying as well.
My friends, the action heroes.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com