My youngest of five--my baby girl--turned twenty-one last week. ACK! That makes me a true, card-carrying MOAC (Mother of Adult Children.) Okay, we won't go any farther down that rabbit trail today.
Anyhow, back to Courtney. . .when we asked her how she wanted to celebrate her birthday, she said she wanted to commemorate her big 2-1 with...drumroll. . .tickets to a Cleveland Cavaliers game. Now, I've lived in the same house with this girl since she was three months old, and I'd like to think I've got her pretty well pegged. I know and love (for the most part) her quirks and foibles and endearing traits as well as her likes and dislikes and tolerates. I know she's a math whiz with an eclectic taste in music. She can sleep twenty out of twenty-four hours while on vacation and spend the remaining four hours of that day in the bathroom fidgeting with her waist-length black hair. But never in my wildest imaginings would I have guessed Courtney to be a Cav's fan! The formula simply didn't compute. As we settled into our arena seats and the team took to the court, however, I realized she knew her basketball stuff. She held her own when her dad grilled her on LeBron James' recent stats, and she insisted we leave her alone so she could watch the game when we tried to draw her into a non-basketball-related conversation during a lull in the action.
As I thought about this new revelation into my daughter's personality, I wondered what might have spurred on this unexpected enthusiasm for professional basketball. Well, I'd forgotten, but she did have great fun in elementary school when she played on a city-league girl's basketball team. And she sat beside me through hundreds of her older brother's high school games when he was the star guard. Maybe an interest in the pro version of the game isn't so very "counter-Courtney" after all.
I have, on occasion, read a manuscript in which a character acts or speak in a manner that doesn't "fit" the personality I've come to know. While I might sympathize with their need for therapy, I'm not typically inclined to want to keep reading. A good author needs the skill of a psychiatrist when developing believable characters. What research tools have you found helpful as you formulate a character's actions and reactions?