Create, Pitch, Sell

Character Building

A new source of inspiration for my novels comes from being on the road. The things I've seen and the people I've met are quite remarkable. Some of the people are downright fun and funny. Some are a little bizarre. Some are kind of creepy. Some are best avoided.

All make interesting story characters.

On the humorous side, I met a woman who sat at the end of the pier every morning with her legs dangling over the edge and a fishing pole in her hands. She wore a flowery floppy hat, nearly two sizes too big, and carried her lunch in a brown paper sack. She spent her time catching small fish just to toss to a blue heron that arrived on cue. He'd stand on the pier a few feet away from her, and eat until his belly bulged. Too full to fly off, he hopped up on the rail and, I think, took a midmorning nap.

On the bizarre side, I watched a petite woman wearing a short sundress and no shoes stretch her arms high above her head and sort of dive into a small storage compartment on her RV. Her husband [assumed] held a flashlight, and continually looked around as if to see if anyone was watching. As soon as her feet cleared the entrance he closed the door. Walked around to the other side of their unit and went inside. I looked a couple more times, and never saw the woman again. Returning from a bike ride on the beach the next morning I saw him and her standing beside their RV. Wearing the same sundress, she raked her fingers through her hair, then accepted a pair of flip-flops from the man. Did she spend the night in the storage compartment? Did they lock themselves out thereby making it necessary for her to enter through a floor hatch where she could unlock the door from the inside? The writer in me said she'd been kidnapped, and he wasn't sure what to do with her. Or, she was his mistress. His wife showed up, and he didn't have anywhere else to hide this 'other' woman. Your guess is as good as mine.

An interesting group of RVer's is the Puzzle People. Also called Winter Texans. Every year, they trickle down from the north in September. Usually stay until March. During the long winter months they gather in the recreation building nearly every single day to drink coffee and work on jigsaw puzzles.

The dangerous type of RVer is the fighter. People who've been on the road so long, they've reached the point where they're getting on each other's nerves now. So they sit around under their awning and holler at one another. All. Day. Long. I go out of my way to avoid them. Especially when push comes to shove.

There are many other types of RVer's. The Trashy People [litterbugs], Quiet People, Noisy People [after a couple of beers], Permanent Residents [they find a nice location, park, and stay for a few years or, they leave their RV behind in storage mode and come back to it six months later], Overnighters, Full-timers, Part-timers, Two-day Weekenders, and the Once-a-year Vacationers.

The camaraderie amongst RVer's is like no other. Don't own a car? These folks are quick to offer to drive you anywhere you need to go. Looking for interesting conversation? Full-timers could spend all day regaling you with stories of their adventures on the road. You'd be surprised what you didn't know about this country.

Need another example of RV life? Visit the Quartzsite, Arizona RV Show: http://www.quartzsitervshow.com/