Recently my husband, daughter, and I had dinner with my parents at King’s Barbeque in Petersburg, Virginia.
My paternal grandfather discovered this restaurant in the 1950s and it is still one of our family’s favorite places.
Since it was near Christmas, they displayed a unique decoration – a pig wearing a Santa hat. Amused, I took pictures with my cell phone.
I heard voices. “That’s a first!”
I turned to see the waitstaff looking at me, noting that no one else had ever taken a picture of the pig. Just as I found the pig to be comical, so they found humor in my amusement.
Anyone who spends time with me knows that I am easily tickled. New and unique sights and sounds bring me happiness. I take pleasure in little things. Over the years, I have come to believe that my ability to find everything entertaining is a little gift of sunshine from God.
As you develop your characters, what big gifts have you given them?
What small gifts have you given them?
How do these character traits affect your story?
In one of my novels, my female ATF agent has Disney coffee cups and a Disney sleep shirt. This showed her soft side and that she wasn’t all business.
Interesting questions. I am going to give my characters big and small gifts. Thank you for the suggestion. 🙂
My character, Rose, says whatever comes into her mind. And its always comical. She also diagnosises her friends, which brings the house down. 🙂
I never really thought intentionally along these lines, but in “Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart” I gave my protagonist, a Viet Nam veteran, a VW Bug, a ponytail, and twenty-three rescued dogs.
The Bug was a connexion with his youth, and the ponytail a symbol of rebellion against the button-down academic community in which he worked.
And the dogs were what he could do to preserve life, spread kindness, and keep love in his life.
One of the gifts I imbue SOME, certainly not all, characters with is the gift of JOY (of spiritual origin). In certain individuals it shines through like light from the darkness.
One might classify it as a “small” gift but I see it as a “big”, no, make that “huge”, gift. Those who possess it usually display and freely circulate it throughout their lives, sometimes without realizing the many souls they have positively affected. Many people are concealing an accumulation of life’s great hurts behind a rosy facade.
Joy is a heavenly antidote to emotional pain and sparks its close companions, Hope and Light, both of which can act as soothing balms to a hurting psyche. People that exude Joy are naturally attractive on an emotional level. (Joy and its associated attributes can be a major influence on internal conflict issues regarding protags and the characters they interact with)
Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.
I give my lead characters courage. They make at least one choice where doing the right thing has a good chance of getting them killed. I’ve been accused of having too lively a sense of humor, and I usually have a character whose sense of humor brightens life for the others.
Martha Whiteman Rogers
I haven’t really thought about it, but now that I am, I’ll look for ways to do this with my heroines. I like unexpected serendipities or surprises like the pink pig. I would have been amused by it as well.
I did have one character who liked learning about new things and new ways to help people and used her resources to do that.
I like the gift of joy mentioned by Rrochellino.
Thanks for an interesting post.
Martha, THANK YOU for the compliment. It is greatly appreciated, particularly coming from an author of your stature.
Thank you for sharing this. Makes me think I need to look over my writing again to be sure my characters are true to their gifts. One of my characters sees most everything from an artist’s view, colors and shapes and much more. Her sister plays piano and sings. She hears music in the whisper of the aspen, the wagon on the road, the burro braying across the valley. They share these with all the family members. These two sisters are my greatgrandmother and her little sister. They shared these gifts throughout their lives from the 1870’s until their deaths. I know because I have some diaries and artwork, and the probate showing the organ. It is also evident that both had a personal relationship with Jesus. I am so blessed to know them this well… Kathy
Love the Santa-pig! That made me smile. And gifts… Hmm.
The hero in my upcoming novella is really good at learning languages and has deep compassion for others. I guess I could say his gift is connecting with and drawing out other people, no matter their situation in life. My brother has this gift, and maybe that’s where my hero got his, though I didn’t intentionally make that connection. Funny how often fiction builds on fact. I enjoyed this post, Tamela. And it made me think about my current characters. I need to give them gifts!
One of my characters misunderstood a word from his friend who is two years older. The older boy said their town had a mayor. The younger said they should have lots of them, because it was horse country. He thought the older was referring to a “mare.” Humor is needed these days, even in the old west.