Your Story's Characters and Their Anniversaries

Today marks the fourth anniversary of my mother's passing. As I pondered this event early this morning, an overwhelming sadness came over me. But, the day goes on, I have things to do. After a bit, I pushed that sadness to the background. But it never fails, this day always gives me pause.

Last week, I marked another sad anniversary. On January 4 of my senior year in high school, my best friend's mother committed suicide. Decades have passed, but I've never forgotten being taken out of school to be there for her. I can still see her face when she opened the door to find me standing there.

The Significance of Dates

Over our lives, certain dates stick with us, while other dates don't remain significant. I can tell you we moved into our current house in November of 2009, but I don't recall the actual date. Even though it was significant at the time, I don't mark it with a memory as it rolls around each year.

In the early years of dating my husband, I knew when our first date occurred. We both did. Now that we've been married almost twenty-four years, that date is less important to us. We have more meaningful dates to honor.

There's a Story In the Dates We Recall

I doubt I'll ever experience January 9 without reliving memories of my mother's last moments on earth. I do the same thing on August 21, the date my father passed away in 2005.

As writers, we portray people in their daily lives. These characters experience events that move them or hurt them or give them joy or bring them sadness. Have you considered creating those anniversaries for your characters? What memories will they hang on to? How does the day make them feel? What dates do they celebrate and why? What will they forget that someone else remembers in vivid detail?

Character development involves adding many small pieces of a life to make up the whole of a person. The more we can add to the personality, thoughts, and actions of our characters, the richer they'll be for the reader.

What can you add to your character's soul that you haven't considered before?


Jim McFarlane said…
Excellent point. Anything that gives a character's personality more depth is good.
Thanks Jim. I’m trying to rethink a few of my stories based on this point.

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