How do you feed your characters?

If you don’t live your life you will be writing about someone else’s.

One e-mail that resurfaces from time to time is, where do you get these ideas?  I alluded to this not long ago in a blog such as this one. You must live your life!

I get in trouble with some of my friends when I tell them I don’t watch TV. “But there is this show or that show, and this one is funny, and that show is stupid but worth watching… Pffft.

One of the most painful things that I do is leave my house and the keyboard but guess what.  I must, and so must you.

Writers are one of the few people who I know that enjoy being alone.  

I know way too many who find new reasons to not leave their home.  There is the laundry, or the kitchen floor needs mopping or pick an excuse.   My go-to excuse is “I have too much work.”

“Folks, you must live your life.  This moment will not come around again ever!”

Yesterday afternoon I closed up my office, threw a bag in the car and headed to East Texas.   I love East Texas.  From the Canton trade days to the small little towns with less than a thousand people, they all have a story.

Most of the time the people that you speak with are friendly and helpful and don’t make too much fun of accents.  “Not that they have room to talk.”

Checking out some antique malls or “junk stores” was on the list as well as quaint little places to eat.  Today was ride the train day.

texas train

There is this train that takes you from Rusk Texas to Palestine Texas with an hour layover and then takes you back.   It is a 25-mile journey through the piney woods and then 25 miles back.

New paint!
This was the first time they pulled the train with this engine.

As I sat there listening to people talk I heard stories that might make it into my novels.  Today had very few young people as it was a school day.  Love kids, just not what I call relaxing to have them running up and down the aisles.

On the way back to Rusk they offered to stop after the main bridge and allow those of us “of age” and ability, to exit the train and enter the train without those little step platforms a photo op of the drive by.

Now, we got some excellent pictures.  A few that wandered a little far from the track I feel sure will have discovered as I write this what a Texas Chigger is.  One young lady wearing capris went off in knee tall weeds… Others were too busy looking at the train to see where they were walking.

I, on the other hand, know to look where my feet are going.

ants

These guys were about .8cm in length, and if you stepped on them, in no time at all, you would be aware that you were not welcome.  They are known as Fire Ants, and there is a good reason for that.

It was a beautiful day and a pleasant journey.  I enjoyed getting to know some new folks, and I hope that nobody tonight has little red spots on their body causing them to scratch their hide off.

Oh, I feed my characters by living my life and talking with people.  Everyone has a story.  Can you meld what you learn into what you are writing?  I was mulling over a story about train robbers, but that too has been done to death.

Much Love- TW