A Conversation With Your Characters
By Cait Collins
I’ve found that one of the best ways for me to get to know my characters is to talk with them. I mean have real talks with them. These conversations give me insight and allow me to create more believable dialogue. For example, Dalton heard from his friend Kate that her former boyfriend abandoned her when he learned she was pregnant by her rapist. She returned to her hometown to bury her grandmother and there was no possible way to avoid running into him. He’s the town’s doctor and it is a small town. After a violent encounter with her rapist, she has to allow her former beau to treat her injuries. Daltons was not happy. Our conversation went something like this.
Cait:“She’s over him, you know. I mean she really resents having to accept his help. She’d prefer to kick him out.”
Dalton: “I know. He’ll hurt her again. He dumped her.”
Cait:“They lied to him. King, your mother, his mother. They let him believe she’d gone with him willingly.”
Dalton: “He told Kate he loved her. A man doesn’t abandon someone he loves.”
Cait:“You wouldn’t. When you love, you give your heart and your soul. Truth is you love Kate. You’ve loved her for fifteen years, and even now that she’s a widow, you shield her from your feelings. That’s a bit cowardly.”
Dalton: “I’m not a coward. I’m giving her space to mourn.”
“So are you”re just going to sit here and let him work his way back into her life. He’s almost as good looking as you. As you said, she’s mourning. Jon’s death hit her hard. She’ll need someone to lead her through the tough days.”
I vanish from the scene. Dalton is waiting on the front porch for word on Kate’s injuries. When the doctor comes out to talk to him, Dalton looks up, snorts and returns to the report he’s been studying.
“I’m Doctor Mike. I know you’re Katie’s friend but she didn’t tell me your name.”
Dalton doesn’t acknowledge the man.
Mike:“I sorry, but what do I call you. I prefer to have a name when I discuss a patient’s injuries with the friends and loved ones.”
Dalton: “I’m Pissed.”
Mike: “Well, Mr. Pissed, …
Trust me; Dalton remained Mr. Pissed until he realized that Kate and Mike were having problems with their friendship. And if they couldn’t be friends, how could they be lovers.