“Joe? What’s that?”
“Coffee. Haven’t you ever seen a war movie.”
“Yeah … ‘The Hurt Locker’ is my favorite.”
“Not THAT war, dummie! World War Two.”
“Oh. That’s like really old, innit?”
“Your grandfather’s war. Maybe. Nineteen thirty-nine to ‘forty-five.”
“No, I mean the movie … it’s in black and white, right?”
“Of course its–”
“No-no, I can’t watch black and white films. It hurts my eyes.”
“So you’ve only read books about that war?”
“What’s a book?”
When you listen for the unintended response, your characters define themselves. Make your characters “try out” for their parts by letting them be what you half-imagine/half-invent. When you hear your main character’s voice, that’s when you begin to understand what he/she is about, and therefore what the story can become.
What Beauty is my newest novel, a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.
The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.