My writing space is in the front of my house. It is an east facing sun room that overlooks the street. It is in many ways exactly what I have imagined my writing space to always look like. There are a few things that still need to be adjusted, I need a better desk, a better chair. I need a pipe stand and a garbage can. Bookshelves and tobacco jars would round it out but are really not necessary. What I do need is already here. I have the sunlight and a view of the people walking down my street. Lives pass under my window giving me snippets of conversation, moments of their dramas to take and replant in my stories.
The place across the street has been empty since I moved in. It was being renovated in 2007 when the market crashed and the developers walked away. It switched hands a few times, each new owner making a small change. Each in turn trying to do as little as they could before flipping the property. Finally someone made a rental out of it. The tenant is a woman in her mid-twenties, attractive, well-built, dressed well but not professionally. As I sit here and watch her come and go, I dream up a life for her. I find her a job or a way to pay the rent. I give her friends and enemies names. I fill in the blanks of who she is with details that amuse me, that inspire me.
She has made it into my next book already. It is interesting how that happens. A character that I had planned on leaving pretty flat has now started to round out. I do not like to give too much thought to who I want my characters to be. Most of the time I like them to develop in a more natural way. They join me in the conscious realm of my active imagination and tell me of their families and homelands. These stories tell me about who they are and why they do what they do. This character is a little different. She was there in the background, the effect made by the actions of other characters. She was nothing but scenery, an object to be studied until the shift in reality that made her real and gave her a home across the street from my window. Now she has a back story and a developing personality. Now she must speak, not just to move the conversation forward, not just as a way to break up long paragraphs of prose but to make herself heard. Now she must act out of concern for her own existence, now just will act with self-preservation in mind. It is no long up to me what she does.