Do you remember telling knock, knock jokes as a kid? My family loves them.
The other day my daughter started off the morning with one that she thought was hilarious…
Daughter: Knock, knock…
Me: Who’s there?
M: Banana Who?
D: Banana, aren’t you glad I didn’t say orange!
(At this point she is rolling with laughter; I am still repeating it in my head trying to see where I missed the funny part. But wait, there’s more…)
D: Knock, Knock…
M: Who’s there?
M: Orange who?
D: Orange, aren’t you glad I didn’t say banana!
At this point I realize where she is going with it. And I laugh, because well I am her mother, and then try and teach her how to tell the joke properly. It didn’t take; she still can’t wrap her head around the word play.
My son however is a different story all together. He loves jokes, always has since he was really little. His latest;
S: Knock, Knock
M: Who’s there?
M: Mustache who?
S: I mustache you a question…
Now I am sure this is a joke he has heard from someone at school, but the point is, he told it and I laughed. (And understood it.)
I have two children. They have the same two parents, have been raised in the same house, with the same rules and have gone to the same schools. However, my two children are almost about as different as night and day on some things, but then other moments they are so much alike it is uncanny.
And it had me wondering how they became who they are. Then of course it had me thinking about my currant WIP. (Why is she so moody all of the time?)
Do you ever wonder about your characters personalities?
I am constantly in an eternal debate with my different characters at the beginning of a project, trying to determine what quirky idiosyncrasies they have, should have or need to get rid of.
But do you ever stop and think of how they came about with these personalities?
In the beginnings of a novel I tend to get caught up in the surface traits and behaviors of who they are. It takes me about 5-8 chapters in to really dig deeper as to why they react the way they do to different situations. (She’s moody because her dad died, and her mom remarried a jerk.)
Sometimes (ha, all of the time) I tend to people watch. Everywhere I go, I am watching, sometimes listening. Wow, I sound like a stranger stalker or something. But I like to observe and then debate with myself as to why they are doing something.
Just this weekend my family went to breakfast and we were seated across from these two people, one of which was pouring packet after packet of honey into their coffee. And I mean A LOT of honey. And it had me first thinking, eeww gross. Then came the, I wonder if that is any good. Finally the question of all questions, how did they determine that they liked honey in their coffee? What was the story behind it?
Who knows, I didn’t ask. (I suffer from a terrible thing called shyness and talking to strangers gives me the itching urge to run away and hide.)
But everywhere we go, there is a story. And every story needs to be shared, or twisted up and rewritten and then told.
Every day we go through life and live new experiences. Some days it is just listening to your daughter butcher a corny knock, knock joke. But it gives depth. Every story, every character has some sort of depth behind him/her. Otherwise you are writing about a flat surface, which is boring.
Well I guess I’ll stop procrastinating now and get back to working on my CampNano project.