Slight digression here. I straddle the hippie generation and women's lib. But for the most part, the focus for my upbringing as a female, in reality, was to go to college, but the degree was to have something to fall back, or a way to support the requisite husband. Women weren't expected to work if they were married, and certainly not when they had children.
For better or for worse, 'white collar' jobs were seen as 'better' than 'blue collar' jobs. And by extrapolation, 'white collar' people were 'smarter' than blue collar people. However, in chatting with the men who are doing our work, they're not doing it because they couldn't get a 'better' job. The head man says he used to work for Microsoft, but it was too stressful. His partner said he couldn't stand the idea of going to an office and doing the same thing every day. He likes that he's probably repeating a task only for a couple of days before moving on. He enjoys stepping back and seeing what changes he's brought to a property he's working on, and they both take pride in doing it right (thank goodness! – We'd been watching too many horror stories on Holmes on Homes)
Another thing I've noticed – these guys have math skills. Things have to fit, and they can deal with fractions of inches like nobody's business. In their heads. I still count on my fingers for most of my personal math.
So when you give your character a job, or a hobby, don't forget to look at all the skills they need to do it. Can they visualize what an empty space could look like? I can't—that's not in my skill set. Are they able to look at a blueprint and know exactly how many bricks to order, or gallons of paint it'll take to cover the walls? Know those 'sub-skills' and work them into scenes. Those basic real-life skills your characters have can be used to foreshadow the kinds of things they'll be called upon to do later in the book.
|Terry Odell is the author of numerous romantic suspense novels, mystery novels, as well as contemporary romance short stories. Most of her books are available in both print and digital formats. She’s the author of the Blackthorne, Inc. series, steamy romantic suspense novels featuring a team of covert ops specialists, the Pine Hills Police series, set in a small Oregon town, and the Mapleton Mystery series, featuring a reluctant police chief in a small Colorado town. To see all her books, visit her website. You can also find her at her blog, Terry's Place, as well as follow her on Twitter, or visit her Facebook page.|