Monday, August 2, 2010
I found them in a large wooden crate in an outdoor market, all colors and sizes thrown in together, their pointy, crystalized faces gazing up at passers-by.
But when you pick one up, and turn it over, the underside is decidedly ugly and ... well... rock looking. It's grey. And rough. Uneven and splotchy. Nothing special.
I think about the people who find these rocks, and wonder if they know what they're going to see when they crack them open with a hammer. Do they know the color and gorgeous crystal interior by the shape or size of texture of the outside rock? Or is it all just a crapshoot - you pick up enough rocks and slam them open and eventually you get a good one that isn't rock all the way through?
I tend to think there are specialists out there, people who can come across a hundred rocks a day and know one particular one is the gem inside.
It reminded me of my character today. At the beginning of the book she's the grey, rough rock. She's nothing special. In fact, she's hard and tough and not totally likable. But someone knows. One person - two even, although that second one doesn't get enough time to get a crack at her - but one person can see what's inside that no one else knows.
Finding that inside isn't gentle or soft or easy, either. Like a rock, it take some strong whacks in her life to crack her open. Pieces of her break off. She shatters.
But by the end, if I've done it right, I hope the readers will see the gem she is inside.
Do your characters have layers, and how do you develop those through your story-telling?