Several people in the past have given me and my blog various awards and I need to apologize if I have not jumped in with an immediate reply. I am trying to do better in the future. Thanks to  Jama for awarding me the Kreativ Blogger award.

The idea is to share 7 things that you love. I really liked Jama’s suggestion of 7 songs that she would stay in the car for so she could hear the ending.

My first thought was to post the 7 writing books I reread every year but then I realized I had more than 7 so I will save that for another post. I briefly considered the 7 blogs I have to read every day but again, that number was more than 7. I would love to be creative and share the 7 characters I love best from children’s books but alas, I read sooo many books that my memory holds the story but not the character, not always, until something triggers it. 7 television shows? Hmmm, perhaps.

But I think I am going to tell you about the 7 characters I love from current WIP projects that I hope to finish in the near future. I have to love them in order to work on them, right? And note that “near future” does not correspond to a calendar. Not setting myself up for failure on that one. No way. But here are 7 characters from various WIP and why I love them.

#1 Flyboy.
Flyboy is the MC in the YA prose novel I am working on now. I love Flyboy because he is me. Substitute his love of flying for my love of writing and we are the same person, well except for the fact that he’s a guy and I’m a girl. And he’s going to get the answers to questions I’ll never get the answers to. And he has a pilot’s license. And a dad. But except for that we’re practically the same person. He is insecure when he shouldn’t be. He worries about the past and what it says about his future. He speaks first and deals with the consequences later. He is horribly flawed in search of family connections and when I finish his story I am going to have a meltdown akin to the one I had when I finished Hugging the Rock.

#2 Plant Kid.
Plant Kid is the MC in a MG prose novel that is hovering on the sidelines at the moment. I love Plant Kid because he is an awkward pre-teen who is trying to find his way in the world and can’t seem to figure out where he fits in. His best efforts often backfire but darned if he doesn’t keep coming back for more. When he discovers the beauty in nature and makes the connections to his own life, I can see him blossom like a garden in spring. Come to think of it, he’s me too.

#3 Max & Frankie
Max & Frankie star in a MG prose novel that is still very new though the characters have been with me for about 5 years. I love Max & Frankie because well, Max is a dog and I love dogs – all dogs, all shapes and sizes and breeds and dispositions. I love Frankie because he is a tireless crusader for Max despite his own unenviable circumstances. He really and truly believes that loving someone, something, is enough in this world. Hmmm…I’m started to see another connection to, you guessed it, me.

#4 Cooper.
Cooper is the hero, flawed as he is, in a MG verse novel where an impulsive act has far reaching consequences. On one hand I understand why Cooper did what he did. On the other hand, I can’t believe Cooper did what he did. Some of Cooper’s story is inspired by previous workshops I have taught at alternative schools. Some of it will no doubt be inspired by the current workshop I am doing with incarcerated teens. And a part of it is inspired by events in my own life, so yes, part of Cooper is me too.

#5 Paolo
Paolo first showed up in a picture book that got many wonderful comments from editors (in rejection letters) about the beautiful language. Alas, there was also a distinctive lack of plot. What I have finally realized is that Paolo’s story is much bigger than a picture book. It is an entire novel. A MG historical novel which will involve a tremendous amount of research. Paolo’s wants in life are simple; a warm bed at night, enough food to eat, someone who loves him. But the simplest things in life often elude us when we need to focus all our energies on just staying alive. There is a part of me, the part of me that lived and died and in New Orleans, that breathes in Paolo. If I can bring that emotional energy to his story I may be able to let go of some of my own pain.

#6 Hannah
Hannah is my grandfather’s best friend. She follows him everywhere and relives the parts of my childhood that I cherish the most. Hannah also came to me in a picture book first. And her story was also rejected, many times. Though the rejection letters were filled with praise the fear of it being too nostalgic was very real. I know now that I need a whole MG novel in order to tell Hannah’s story. But first I need to find a way to make it more her story and less mine. I think they may be a mystery involved. I’m not sure.

#7 Missy
Poor Missy. Ever since her mother died her life has never been the same. Especially after the guy moved in across the street with nothing more than a duffle bag and one other very important item. Her obsession may be her downfall or her salvation, I’m not sure which. I have rewritten the first chapter of Missy’s story, a MG prose novel, more times than I can count. Every word, every sentence, is exactly as I want it to be. But therein lies the problem. I devoted so much time to that first chapter that it has sat in the drawer for a dozen years waiting for me to find the creative energy to unlock the rest of the story. In this way it is much like me, waiting for years for the opportunity to follow my heart, never realizing that baby steps in that direction really would be enough to get me started.

The common thread in all these characters is my love for them but also it is that a part of me is in each of them. I think it is the only way I know how to bring a character to life.