I spent the weekend in Hollywood with my daughter and her Girl Scout troop of 10 girls ages 10 & 11--we went to Universal Studios with their cookie money.
(Great girls, btw. We had a great time.)
On Sunday, we ventured downtown to Hollywood Boulevard and The Walk of Fame.
I'm going to be a bit non-politically correct here, might even make a couple people mad--just remember this is only my opinion...
I was highly disappointed. Its a very dirty part of the city. And that Hollywood sign, the one in the hills that they show on television all pristine white surrounded by lush mountains, looked about ready to topple over. It was dingy gray against dry, brown hills covered with ragged patches of sage brush.
On Hollywood Blvd, there were so many costumed out-of-work actors/actresses begging for tips after a quick shot of the camera it was like strolling through Tijuana with every merchant promising the best deal, nagging you to buy, attempting to charm you into their store. (And more than one of these wanna-be actors looked like they were out there to fund their drug habit.) There were the music artists snapping headphones over the ears of the unsuspecting tourist to try and get them to take their latest CD for a "donation", the homeless weaving palm leaves into roses and crosses and laying them out for sale over the star's stars.
I weaseled my way out of traipsing through Ripley's Believe It Or Not, The Wax Museum and The Guinness Book Of World Records Museum with the girls, left them to the troop leader and grabbed a soda at McDonald's. There, while I sat amongst the bizarre population of Hollywood Blvd, I realized something -- about myself and my writing: I live a white-bread life, so my characters come out like boring, flat Wonder instead of varied, interesting, rich seven grain loaf.
I used to work in San Francisco--I've seen people from about every walk of life. I'm no stranger to the rich, famous, entitled, selfish, arrogant, deranged, violent, crazy, poverty stricken, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, disease ridden, anything-goes, trying-to-find-themselves population of big cities. But after a couple hours of people watching over the weekend, I realized that I've been cloistered in my suburbs too long. I need to get out more!
For the life of me, I can't seem to create quirky, interesting characters. I've got my hero's and heroines down, going deeper with my villains, but the rest, those secondary characters or the one scene wonders? Boooring.
What writer do you think does a good job with different characters--the really memorable quirky ones (not necessarily h/h/v)? What are your methods for developing that type of character in your work?
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