This week I attended a funeral for a friend from church. This beautiful lady always had a smile on her face and was always sweet and kind. I didn't know much about her personal life as we only interacted through our Sunday morning Bible Study class.
I learned so much more about her today during the service. She had never been married, while I had assumed she was a widower. She loved to travel and had been to so many places around the world. She worked for a bank for 38 years until she retired. Not having any children, she doted on her nieces and nephews. When each one graduated from high school, she would take them on a trip. The niece who was giving the eulogy said she was treated to three weeks in Europe! There were so many interesting things about her life I never knew. What a full life she led.
A woman of deep faith, she always had a smile on her face and her joy was bright, shining like the sun for all to see. She might not have always been happy, but she was always joyful.
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)''
After the service, I thought about my friend and what a full life she had lived. This made me think about the characters in my books. How much bigger they would be if I gave them backgrounds out of the ordinary! What if they had an aunt who took them to Europe? Or grandparents who took them on a scenic railroad trip across country? There are so many possibilities. All I need to do is open my mind and dream of things I would like to have experienced and give those to my characters.
Sadly, I must admit that in the past I hadn't though about anything other than the mundane every day things I'm familiar with. This makes for boring characters. The funeral service taught me a unique way to approach the task. I'm going to write a eulogy for each of my main characters.
This will allow me to develop all aspects of my characters' lives. While they won't have experienced all the things I'll write in their eulogy during their time in my story, I can lay the foundations. I want to be able to say, "They lived a full rich life until they went to their forever home."