Role and Models

January 14, 2012

A little girl from East L.A.

A little girl from East L.A.


Two of the stories from Claiming One, Secrets of the Days and Nights’ and  ‘Dead For Awhile’ are culled from one of my in-progress novels. The small main character is Duffy, and I like her little universe.  Writing Duffy’s world is easy for me. I’ve seen models for her life and watched roles like hers, in neighborhoods I’ve grown up in, in families I’ve known.

The physical models for the kids in these stories come from two places.

On one East Los Angeles block, down from our house, there lived a family of kids, their mother was from Tennessee or South Carolina I think; a red-harried, freckled lady, set down there in L.A. with a family whose last name was Martinez or maybe Garcia, I forget. Even at age seven, I saw a story to tell there. The two oldest daughters, Maybelline and Tammy where freckled red-heads like their mother, and the smallest, a boy, Danny-Ray was a tow-head. But the second to youngest, Wendy – she had dark brown hair and Mexican skin like their father, Windy– who she was kind-of-named after.

Then, in a city to the East, two or three years later, there lived another family of blondes; a girl and boy. I can’t remember her name, but her little brother was named Chance.

And these children stayed with me.

When it comes to writing, we fiction people seem to soak up so much around us that the sense memories, the models and the roles are just waiting within us, to be plucked, like fruit from a low hanging branch, and mixed into the confections we whip up.

These children. Their faces and colorings and dynamics stayed with me and in the intervening years have morphed into story-children in my work of fiction.

I’m not writing Chance or Wendy’s lives – the two have never met.  And I never saw them beyond the one or two  years they lived on the same blocks I did.

I’m creating something out of my writer’s mind, the one that is constantly asking me to detail and sketch in the what if’s — that mind that asks and asks and asks; until I find an answer and put it to the page.

As a novice writer, let yourself observe and gather. Let yourself move the echoes of the people you’ve come across around a chessboard only you can see.  Populate the playhouse in your writer’s mind. Tell a new story from old remembered shapes.

Ask ‘What if?

And when you get an answer to that – capture it, expand on it, and turn a remembered reality into fiction.

Just remember, at some point you might need to add:

 This is a work of fiction. Names, characters and incidents are

the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to

actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Claiming One‘s upload happens today, it can take anywhere from 4 to 36 hours to show up on Amazon.
And the Paperback version following will show up in 3 to 7 days.

Paperback version will have The Book Club notes included and a ‘look inside’ display from Amazon on the page.
e-book – no book notes, because feedback from users of Kindle and other readers show it’s too unwieldy,trying to flip to the same page when everyone is on a different resolution/font size display.
To make up for that, when the Publishers (Inspired Quill) get their refurbished website up, my ‘Author Page’ will have the Book Notes there for readers to download.


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