April 22, 2014

What would Daisy do? Character development 101

This week I have to honor of being a guest on Evelyn Cullet's 'Evey's Writers Blog'. Check it out at http://evelyncullet.com/penny-clover-petersen-daisy-rose-mystery-series/#comments

What would Daisy do?

One of things I like about writing is being someone else for a while. I can be eccentric, or angry, or charming and it all works out for the best. I like to take a situation and imagine how each of my characters would handle it. I have three main characters, sisters Daisy and Rose who own a gift boutique together and their mother Angela who interferes.

Suppose these ladies are on their way home from a funeral. They drove separately and are about ten minutes apart as they pass through a speed trap. What would each lady do?

Angela Forrest after being pulled over would first let her dog, Percy, out of the car to answer a call of nature. She would then tell the police officer that she's so sorry she may have been a little distracted. She is on her way home from a dear friend's funeral and her mind was elsewhere. She would go on to say that she hoped he is wearing sunscreen, especially on his neck, because he certainly doesn't want sun spots later on in life, and he could use a little Biz in the laundry to get the tiny ketchup stain off his shirt. Finally she would scoop up Percy who had chosen the officer's leg to have a good time with, give him her calling card, and invite him for dinner. She would then get back in the car and drive away, the policeman never having had the chance to get a word in.

Daisy Forrest Greene, on the other hand, would probably not be so diplomatic. She isn't the greatest fan of the police, her ex-husband, rat-bastard extraordinaire Bill Greene, being a detective with the Maryland State Police. I'm pretty sure Daisy would roll down her window, give the officer a 'look' and say, "What!" After being asked if she realized that she had been speeding, she would answer that, of course she was and you would be too if you had just had to sit through the longest, most boring wake of your entire life. One hundred and fifty people in a hot room overwhelmed with the smell of lilies talking about a nasty old woman who was ninety-nine years old if she was a day and the only reason these people were there was on the off chance that she left them something in her will. Finally she would hand him her license and registration after a bit of digging in her purse and tell him to get a move on if he was giving her a ticket because she had a vodka and tonic waiting at home with her name on it. Incorrectly, but fortunately for her, he would think that she was Detective Greene's wife, not his ex, and give her a warning. She would sigh, shake her head and speed off.

And then there is Rose Forrest. A bit less volatile, Rose would give the officer an alluring smile as she hands him her license and registration that happen to be right at hand, tosses her hair back as she says, "I'm so sorry. The day was so lovely, I guess I got a little carried away. It's so good to be alive." A tear would trickle down her cheek and she would mention that she was just returning from attending a close relations funeral. She could also absolutely understand if he needed to give her a ticket. She really should be more careful and will in the future. At which point, the poor sap, already worn down by Angela and Daisy, simply gives in to the inevitable and tells her he's very sorry about her loss and please take care.

Of course, none of these is even remotely resembles how I would handle this sort of thing in real life. What would actually happen is I would have purse panic looking for my license, become nearly hysterical as I fumble in the glove box for the registration, answer politely if all too honestly all his questions - yes, of course I know I was doing 60 in a 40 zone and no, I have not been drinking unless you count the 14 cups of tea I had waiting for my mother to say good-bye to all of her friends. At this point I no doubt would burst out crying. And not looking too alluring with a red runny nose, I would get a big fat ticket and be sent on my way.


  1. Little wonder Daisy didn't get along with her Ex. They prefer to be referred to as Maryland state Troopers, not Maryland state policeman.

  2. Thanks, Bernie, I knew that and meant to change it. However, the break-up was caused more by his needing to date other women, than Daisy's incorrect nomenclature.