26 March 2011

New Characters Over the Fence

As of last night we have new neighbours. We were saddened by the news that our old neighbours had decided to down-size: they were retired and therefore without noisy children or loud music... just a sports-mad and slightly-deaf husband who yelled at the TV all day. They were cat people and kept an eye on ours when we were away, and we occasionally traded home-grown vegetables over the fence.

The furtive glances at the new editions reveal they are possibly late forties, and so far seem to be child-free. They own a 1970's Jaguar. That might be all we have to go on until they are settled in enough to introduce themselves. It's kind of funny: now that my brain is permanently set to writer's mode, I find myself thinking about the new neighbours as if they are new characters that I need to discover. Except that in this case, they won't just reveal themselves in my mind. As we get more clues, we'll probably sketch together our own impressions... which might prove to be the total opposite of what they actually are! The forty year olds might be their children or parents for example.

It made me think of my characters, about what attributes I normally think of first, and how sometimes they reveal surprising things about themselves. Have you ever had a character do a 180 turn on you (that you didn't expect) or do they generally behave themselves?

Anyway, it's weird to think that we won't see our old neighbours ever again, after seeing them nearly every day since we moved in. It reminds you about the transcience of life.

Sophie decided to be particularly vocal all night, wanting to go in or out every few minutes. We were accommodating just to shut her up - we didn't want the new neighbours to be disturbed on their first night. I really hope they are cat people.

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