Characters in real life

Do you ever meet someone and they are so colorful and unique that it seems they stepped from a book?

I was looking through some of my old (2002) writer’s notebooks and found a bunch of character sketches of real people. Here are my two favorites. The first was a college classmate and the other I talked to on the public bus.

Person 1: Scottish, plays the bagpipes, large man, pierced ear. He said he wouldn’t want his daughter, if he ever had one, to bring home someone like himself. Travelled the world (102 countries). Ordered pizza in Moscow in the middle of a coup. It was delivered past tanks.

Person 2: Cowboy hat and boots (both black).

Bull rider, 2 pins in his back, shattered face on left side from hitting head against the bulls head. Paralyzed on the right side for a couple years. Plays slide steel string guitar, because it takes less dexterity of the right hand.

Ranch in Texas. 100 + horses (all Quarter horses). Lived with grandparents from age 5 up because parents moved to Oregon. Permitted to carry a gun and ammunition in school. The teacher’s comment would be “did you clean it over the weekend?”

Drinking parties: if you passed out 4 things could happen 1) get pierced by anything sharp enough to poke a hole, 2) head shaved, 3) dressed up ridiculous or naked and taken 10 miles out of town and left to walk back, or 4) tattooed.

(Makes me grateful I don’t drink.)

If you want to write three dimensional characters then strike up conversations with others and mostly listen.

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