Throwback Thursday: Stick Figure Characterization

When I was young I was a master at drawing stick figures. Okay, maybe I still am. I can’t draw to save my life.

But what’s the point of drawing hands and fingers? I mean most people have those body parts, so you can just infer from the drawing that my characters have hands and fingers too, right?

Basically, I’m an efficient drawer.

And when I switched from poetry to fiction, I realized I am also an efficient writer. I found myself writing the barebones of my characters just like I did when I wrote short stories as a child –“here is Sally, she has blonde hair.”

My poems are short, sweet and shocking. My fiction ended up stark and bare.

Growing as a writer, I have become enlightened of this fact (thanks writing group), and had to learn to elaborate. What is so special about Sally’s blond hair?

As a result my characters came to life. My heroines are no longer stick figures wearing triangle dresses, but maturing, independent, proactive teenagers forced to become women before they are ready.

And as a result, I find myself sucked into my fictional world, captivated by my characters, and missing them when I’m away for too long.