Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Forecast: Characterization with sunny flowers

I splurged yesterday at the grocery store and purchased a large bunch of yellow alstroemeria, a lily-type flower. The weatherman is forecasting gray days for the rest of the week. Something about a trapped low pressure system waiting for some stronger weather to move it out. While we wait, it sits and spins over Michigan creating clouds and off and on showers. To offset that tired, crankiness the weather can cause, I wanted to be proactive and purchased the flowers. For me the yellow helps replace the sun.

I never was one who wanted a beau to deliver a big bouquet as a sign of eternal devotion. Now that I’m older and married, I appreciate them more. And they do make me smile as the rain pelts the window. When the grayness pulls me to the couch for a nap, I look at the flowers and it helps me go back to writing. I’ve been struggling to create some vivid characters for a short story that needs to be done by the end of the month. Making charcters come alive in short stories is very difficult unless you can show traits by actions. Flowers can help with that.

Does your main character adore or scoff at flowers? Mitch Malone, the crime beat reporter sleuth in my mystery series, would scoff at flowers. He has no idea why the world needs them, thinks they are silly and the folly of woman. However, he would bring them to a date, if he ever had one and thought it would help the girl like him better. What I need to decide is how the female character would react when Mitch shows up with a large bouquet? Does she throw them in his face? Take them and gush giving him a big hug? Take them and then slam the door in his face?

Characters are funny things. You create them, then they have the nerve to have a mind of their own and tell you what they are going to do. Have you ever read a book and the character did something you didn’t expect and you couldn’t say why? Was that good characterizing or bad? My guess is bad unless there is a compelling reason for the character to change that you could find about later.

Think about your favorite characters? Would they buy flowers? Would they never notice them or would they smile every time they walked by? Tell me about your favorite character and their flower choices.


  1. My favorite character - me - loves flowers and I grow them in the warm months just to fill the house, and buy them in the winter. I'm with you on this one!

  2. Funny you mention flowers. I have some sunflowers outside that are so vivid and bright and punchy that I really enjoy them in ways I find hard to define. Never been much of a flower person, I'm with Mitch there, but I'll have to think about how my characters would react. It's an interesting character trait to consider.

  3. Dani: I love that you are your own favorite character. I shouldn't have been surprised!

    Susan: Flower appreciation is an aging thing. Might have something to do with stopping to smell the flowers? Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Love, love, love flowers. This is an excellent post, Wendy! My characters wouldn't buy flowers though. They are thirteen, LOL. Can't +1 it though. :-)

  5. I love flowers, especially as I get older. My sister just sent me a lovely Gerbera daisy, and I'm happy as a clam.

    Now, Kitty--my YA character--wouldn't be interested in flowers. I think she might notice them growing at the edge of the forest near her home though.

  6. Tess: I can see you with a big Gerbera daisy. I thought of them this morning while writing.

    Robyn: Even 13 year olds can appreciate flowers but my 16 year old wouldn't care that much.

    Thanks for stopping by everyone!

  7. Then there are the characters who get it wrong: gets a date while visiting France and brings the girl gladiolus not knowing that in France, those flowers are usually found at funerals.

  8. My character, a woman who knows her way around the etiquette and mores of 1880 (while living in the Wild West of the Colorado Rockies), would know "the language of flowers" and interpret accordingly. However, I have not thought what Inez's favorite bloom might be. Strawberry, for "perfect excellence," or common stramonium for "disguise," or Sweet William for "artifice" or walnut for "stratagem?" Soooo many choices!