So this post is a few days late, but I don't think I need to wait for a special occasion like Mother's Day to talk about one of the most influential people in my life. My paternal grandmother was a really amazing woman. She raised five kids during the Great Depression and was married for over 55 years to my grandfather. They got to enjoy 26 grandkids, with me being the youngest. I honestly have no idea how many great-grandkids there were, but I am pretty sure it was upwards of 40. The great-greats were starting to pop up by the time Grandma passed away in 2002.
I was extremely lucky to have a very special relationship with my grandmother. From the time that I was four years old through my middle school years, I spent almost every weekend at Grandma's house where she fed me homemade blueberry pancakes for breakfast, we played any board or card game I wanted, and reading was not just a hobby, it was about as optional as breathing.
Grandma was always very encouraging when it came to my education and my interests. She loved that I had inherited the writing bug from my grandfather and fed this secret desire to scribble down stories and poems. I found much inspiration from my weekends with her and have many stories I wrote late at night in the spare bedroom of her house.
Even now, years later, I still think of Grandma when I need a little writing inspiration, especially when it comes to character development. My grandma, in addition to being an amazingly strong woman, was full of quirks and thinking of her reminds me daily of all the little ways I can make my characters unique. With that thought in mind, a an abbrieviated list of things I loved about my grandma:
1. Her vast collection of salt and pepper shakers.
2. Her love of basset hounds.
3. Her homemade bread, baked fresh from scratch.
4. Her bright yellow house.
5. She played a mean game of Skip-Bo.
6. Her house full of wonderful, hidden treasures.
7. Her favorite flower: dandelions.
I can't see a dandelion without thinking of Grandma. And for that, I will forever be thankful. I look at the list above and remind myself that it is my job to create characters just an full of fun little traits as my grandmother was. I try to give them traits and quirks that make them just as memorable. I also enjoy slipping tributes to her in my work. In some ways, I think everything I write is for her. I always wanted to make her so proud of me, as I was so proud to have her as my grandmother.
Do you have a particular person who inspires you when it comes to character development? Is there someone in your life that keeps you writing?
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