Daily Archives: November 9, 2009

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What’s in a job? by Abby Gaines

November 9, 2009 by in category Writing tagged as

One of the fun things about writing novels is the different careers and jobs I get to explore as an author, all in the interest of research. A well-chosen job adds affects kinds of aspects of a character—the pressures they face, their likes and dislikes, their ambitions, their education, their skills…. Often I choose a job for my character seemingly out of thin air, then discover that choice says something vital about my character.

Like the florist heroine who lived her life on the sidelines of her beloved foster family, always an observer, never quite allowing herself to be part of the action. Or the accountant who was striving for order and control after her hippie upbringing. Or the lawyer who’d chosen the wrong firm for all the right reasons and now found himself living a lifestyle a million miles from the one he’d always wanted.
Writing about different careers forces me to leave my desk and go experience “a day in the life”…or at least a few hours in the life… Without that impetus, I never would have attended a pre-dawn flower auction, sat in the courthouse all morning, talked with a sports psychologist and toured a funeral home without someone needing to die first.
I’m always looking for new and interesting careers to “pursue” in my fiction. Recently, I met a man who develops specialized nutrition for racehorses. Fascinating!—I’ve warned him to expect a visit from me soon! Do you have a job that you’d love to see fictionalized? Let me know, and just maybe it’ll turn up in a romance novel soon….
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