25 May 2006

Character Map-v1

Here are some quick character sketches of the main players I've got in mind for "Security & Exchange" at the moment. These are all very subject to change as I'm still several months away from the November writing time. Just want to get ideas down as they come to me.
  1. Dag Hamilton. A private investigator specializing in accounting and computer tracking. He is the MC and narrator of the story, and you can read several of his comments in other postings below. I won't spend a lot more time on him at the moment.

  2. Brenda Barnette. Brenda is the client. She is an attractive fifty-something with a great deal of self-possession and "command presence." For all her active life, she has been emotionally estranged from her husband for years, but really didn't have any other ideas about what to do. When he comes up missing, she finds that a number of negotiable securities are also missing which pisses her off. She doesn't tell Dag about the securities, just that she wants him to find her husband. Her financial condition turns out to be somewhat more tenuous than she lets on. The search for the money is not greed but survival.

  3. Simon Barnette. Simon never enters the picture as an actual character, but Dag pieces together a great deal of his life as he investigates his disappearance. It may well be that things in Simon's life trigger memories of Dag's own life as he encounters them. Simon has the opportunity to play a major role in the story without ever actually appearing in it.

  4. Angel Woodward. The other woman. Angel is still a bit of a mystery to me, but probably will turn out to be the sweet, sugar-won't-melt-in-my-mouth, villain of the story who if not actually disposing of Simon, certainly absconded with the funds after he died. In order to fit the stereo-types, she needs to be a younger (how much?) woman who is clever (or thinks she is) and proud of her ability to lure Simon away from a "homelife that he was never happy with anyway."

  5. Mrs. Gabriella Prior. Mrs. Prior is the pet-psychic landlady who cares for Dag's dog when he is away. She is just a colorful character who often goes on about the various animals she has spoken with during the day. She always watches for Dag to come home, and frequently adds frilly accessories to Maizie's (the dog) attire. This may involve anything from ribbons around her collar to painted toenails. In every instance, it is contrary to the tough image of a pitbull that Dag wanted to convey by having the dog.

  6. Maizie. Dag's pet pitbull. The motivation in having the dog was to make an impression on people that he runs a tough, no-holds-barred, investigation agency. But Maizie would be more likely to hide under the bed if someone actually threatened Dag. That would be the only time she was under the bed instead of on top of it. Add to that her obvious enjoyment of being pampered by Mrs. Prior and you get a tough-looking sissy-dog. The key element, however, is that when Dag is working on a case, he talks to Maizie about what is going on. He uses Maizie as his sounding board as he sorts ideas and arrives at conclusions.

It strikes me that all the (living) characters that I've outlined besides Dag are women. In a way, I like that. However, I don't think Angel is going to be adequate to put Dag in all the jeopardy that I've outlined in the synopsis previously posted. So I'm thinking that at each successive step of the story he may be encountering someone else who has an interest in finding Simon, Angel, or the money. There could be a gambling debt with a gangster out to collect, an ex-boyfriend looking to recapture Angel or at least to cash in on her good fortune, and if I can work it out, a charitable foundation that has an eye on funding its work with Simon & Brenda's money (or maybe with Dag's life insurance??). Obviously there are a lot of holes to dig before I find the treasure, but this is a start.


jason said...

There's always the opportunity for Angel to have another lover (her "real" lover), and she's only using Simon to get at his money. The other lover is convenient muscle/threat for Dag, particularly if it takes a while to realize who this guy is. He could take the form of a threatening presence who, for much of the story, Dag isn't even sure is related to the case he's working on. Perhaps Dag could spend some time worrying that he's related to some previous case (opportunity for one of your memory hooks?) where maybe Dag was too successful for his client and ended up making an enemy. Then later he can learn that no, the guy's in with Angel, and things can start unraveling.