Sunday, September 03, 2006


It's official--I'm sick of the short story I'm working on. I'm about to put it away for the day, hoping and praying that tomorrow will bring me the fresh eyes I need to really look at it.

When I was on vacation, I worked on the story a bit, and got to the point then when I felt I had done all I could. I wanted my brain to wrap around a new story. I swear, thinking about writing is the only thing that keeps me sane and not thinking about much less pleasant things. But I couldn't think of anything! I started to think about Susan's father's story (which I blogged about here), but realized I don't think it's actual story material. I think it's just what I needed to get done in order to write Susan's story.

I started to panic. I got cranky, and wasn't able to enjoy anything, not even walking Chloe on some of the most beautiful paths I've ever seen. I've always been a believer that more perspiration is needed to be a writer than inspiration, but I have to admit that some inspiration is necessary to get started. What if my well had run dry already? What would I do then? What could I be happy doing with my life?

And then, a new character spoke to me, and my world got much better. She's involved in the dog story that I wrote about here. She's the person who works at the kennel where the main character brings the dog that was abandoned at her house. I shouldn't say main character, though, cause I think this woman has an important story to tell, too.

Here's her deal, as I know it thus far.

  • She's originally from Tennessee, and still has a bit of a twang--in both attitude and accent.
  • She's married and divorced twice, both times she left the man for cheating on her. The first time, her husband was abusive, but she's embarrassed to admit that it was the cheating, not the hitting, that finally got her to leave. The second time, she married the opposite of the first man--gentle and caring, and unbeknownst to her until a few years into the marriage, gay. She leaves him when she finds out he's sleeping with a man.
  • She had moved to Rhode Island for his job, and she can't face going back home, where she'll be judged only on her inability to stay married. So she stays, getting a job cleaning cages at the pound. That was 17 years ago, and she's moved up to pretty much run the place. She has a boss who's not there a lot, and she refuses to follow his rules. He has certain criteria that people have to meet in order to adopt dogs, but she doesn't think they're important. A fenced in backyard? Not a deal-breaker if the person clearly connects with a particular dog. No job? Ditto. Not a single dog she's adopted out in this way has been returned, so boss looks the other way.
  • She has a special connection with dogs, where she can tell who belongs to what person.
  • She is NOT looking for love. but she still loves to get a man's attention. She wears very tight clothes, bright lipstick, and has big, curly red-ish hair.
  • She's happy living on her own, making her own rules. She has 4 dogs, and randomly takes other ones home from time to time if she feels they aren't ready to go out to other people's houses.
  • She drives a beat-up convertible, the most impractical car for New England winters, but one she loves.
  • The story will start with a bit of background on her, and then will open into the scene where she meets the woman who brings in the abandoned dog. I'm not sure what exactly will happen...
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Kim G. said...

Love the new character. She reminds me of a dog-loving Erin Brockovitch type. Can't wait to see where she takes your story!

TI said...

Bug, I like your new character and I LOVE your story about inspiration. Great to have you back!

FatCharlatan said...

Oh, yeah. I'm really liking this new character. I can totally picture her and hear her--a good thing!

Bug said...

Thanks everyone! I'll let you know how she progresses. :)

DonPare said...

Real potential!!
Nicely done!

I think there can be a lot of meat just showing us glimpses of her previous marriages, especially the one where she discovers that she's married to a man who is really gay.

Good for you for not getting frustrated with the other story and just continuing to worry about it - you just shifted to a new idea! Excellent!