I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Intriguing Friends and Characters by Delores Topliff

Proverbs 18:24a says, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly.”

Zig Zigler said, If you go out to be a friend, you'll find them everywhere."

Poet Edwin Markham paralleled that in “The Right Kind of People:”

Gone is the city, gone the day,
Yet still the story and the meaning stay:
Once where a prophet in the palm shade basked
A traveler chanced at noon to rest his mules.
“What sort of people may they be,” he asked,
“In this proud city on the plains o’erspread?”
“Well, friend, what sort of people whence you came?”
“What sort?” the packman scowled; “why, knaves and fools.”
“You’ll find the people here the same,” the wise man said.
Another stranger in the dusk drew near,
And pausing, cried, “What sort of people here
In your bright city where yon towers arise?”
“Well, friend, what sort of people whence you came?”
“What sort?” the pilgrim smiled with lifted head;
“Good, true, and wise.”
“You’ll find the people here the same,”
The wise man said.
I once read that, Markham funded his college education by unearthing a bag of gold when plowing a family field near San Francisco. We Ponderers have similarly found gold in the writing friends God has given us on this writing journey. I ask myself, Can separate individuals become joined Siamese twins? Yes, in heart, purpose, and encouragement.
In fiction and life God’s law of sowing and reaping is as sure as the law of gravity—we get back what we invest—often with increase. If characters (or acquaintances) are boringly good, or boringly unpleasant, they appear flat, two-dimensional, giving us little desire to pursue them further or develop relationship. But, as Susie teaches, if rascally villains have fascinating grins or one redeeming quality, but plain vanilla Goody Two-Shoes have one visible flaw, it makes them intriguing. Instead of dismissing them we’re eager to see what they’ll do next—what surprising, perhaps self-sabotaging, quirks they’ll display.
As master creator God makes everything in creation as unique and individual as sparkling snowflakes or prismed sand grains glittering on tropical beaches. And He makes us in His image, enabling us as writers to create complex one-of-a-kind believably unforgettable characters—while enjoying the process.
Who’s the most captivating real life or fictional person you’ve ever met? Why?


  1. I think you are one of the most interesting people I've ever met! Missionary, speaker, professor, good friend...could go on. Can't wait to read the books you'll write.

  2. What a fun post, Dee. I've been blessed to meet many people in my life who captivate me because of their adventuresome spirit. I feel very tame in comparison. :) I love your exuberance for life, people and travel. Your passion for your grands.

    My mom is vivacious and fun. Human to a fault, but loving to the extreme.

    Fictional characters--I'll pick Anne of Green Gables. I love indomitable spirit and her flair for living life. Her strong will, stubbornness but her gentleness at the same time. Okay, I'm off and running the littles to school. Thanks for starting my day with wonderful thoughts!

  3. Thanks, both, for your comments. Sometimes I'm so "interesting" I don't fit in easily. Anne of Green Gables? Can you believe I haven't read, though I've seen 1 movie years ago. I've been told I must read & it's now on my list.

    1. Yes, read it! Anne's spunky and spontaneous.

  4. P.J. Sugar in Susie's books are fun and flawed. I think giving the characters a flaw makes us more sympathetic with them. I guess with Miss Perfect, we'd all be looking hard for a blemish somewhere, and thus not cheering for her to succeed.

  5. Good insight. Many of us qualify.
    Just returned from good yearly pacemaker check & news that I will owe IRS (cashed out most of retirement to buy farm). think both events cancel out each other and I'm at neutral, thankful to have farm. And praying for a book contract . . .

  6. Fun post, Dee. So many captivating people and characters to choose from. :) I'd have to say my own grandparents captivate me...I love listening to them talk about life when they were kids! :)

    1. Neat, MTagg. I'm sure they're grand people & maybe we'll see glimpses of them in your books :)