31 July 2013
My wife and I vacation in Port Townsend, Washington most years, as I have written before (and before). She spends most of the week taking music lessons and I spend mine communing with the muse, or trying to.
But sometimes the best part of a week off is spending time with old friends. That is certainly true of this trip. Not only did I see various music buddies, but I also ran into two writing friends: Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and Clyde Curley.
However, those aren't the friends I want to write about today.
I first met Leopold Longshanks almost thirty years ago in a coffeeshop in Montclair, New Jersey. I didn't really meet him there; I just got an inkling that he existed. It took many years for him to solidify into enough of a character to write a story about.
I spent two days on vacation writing a story about Shanks and his wife and had a great time visiting with them. After a dozen tales, they are like old pals and it is great to catch up with them, see what trouble they are getting into.
Then there are Thomas Gray and Delgardo. They have only appeared in one novella and it is by no means certain that I can turn them into series characters, but I got 2000 words into a new piece, and had a lot of fun with them. Since they have had only one outing I am still trying to figure out what is essential to their stories and what is, so to speak, accidental.
These are pleasures you only get by writing about a character more than once. I was thinking about this recently as I read Janice Law's third story about Madame Selina in AHMM. As I recall Janice said she had never talked about reusing a character until I suggested this dishonest but oh so clever spiritualist needed a return voyage.
So, hwo do you guys feel about revisiting your old friends/enemies?