I often wonder at writers who say that their protagonists appeared in their minds fully formed. J K Rowling claimed that Harry Potter walked into hers quite suddenly. My process has never been quite that painless. My characters are amorphous. Some I can grasp and try and pin down on paper. Others hover on the edge of my consciousness.
Even those that I put down on paper have the uncanny ability to surprise me by developing in ways that I had not foreseen. For instance, Parvathy’s Well, a story that I wrote quite some years ago, had as it’s main character a girl who was shy, overly imaginative and prone to fancy. That she had an unconscious nasty streak, revealed itself to me only as the story progressed.
So, as a writer, inspiration may arrive in the form of a movie, a snippet of a conversation, a glance, a throwaway comment…take your pick. The interesting thing is how that inspiration translates itself into words.
Right now, I have a troubled woman, someone who is tired of the day to day care of her invalid mother, wanting me to write about her. Who is she? No one I know. Will I be able to tell her story? I can certainly try. Will it be the story I have imagined? I can guarantee not. It will be the one that she wants told….tantalisingly vague as it is at this point.