In last week's Novel Writing class, we focused on creating compelling characters. I encouraged everyone to note how telling details, yearnings, inner conflicts help build complex characters.
Trolling for character sketches? The obituary pages never fail to offer up fascinating characters....I mean people.
Case in point: Today's obit from the NYT about a Zen abbot and photographer:
He set up an institute to apply Zen principles to environmental matters, hoping to bring people closer to “the inherent intelligence of wildness.” He also began a program to teach Zen to prison inmates...
The monastery [he helped found] fit right into a Catskills spiritual scene that already included Zen, Hindu, Tibetan Buddhist, yoga and various New Age centers. Abbot Loori decreed that 80 percent of the 230 acres he had just bought would have to remain “forever wild,” which meant no manicuring of the landscape.