The Race

Tracy Dunham

This coming weekend I'll be camping out at RIR in the parking lot, big Dodge truck filled with good food, a grill, chairs, and an ice chest of soft drinks. To say I'm looking forward to a whole weekend of Busch and Nextel racing is a severe understatement. Wearing my Mark Martin hat and listening to him talk to his crew chief on my headphones, I'll be biting my nails as my favorite driver burns up the 3/4 mile track, even if his place in the race for the cup is secure. It's a unique thing to NASCAR, I have a feeling - this ownership fans feel towards their favorite drivers. It's as if they're family.

I feel the same way about characters in books. When a character comes alive at the hands of a good writer, I could kiss the ground she walks on. (Or he, of course, since men can write well too. I'm an equal-opportunity reader.) That's what I want to do with my stories - create people who belong to the reader. Characters who walk off the page and into the reader's head and get stuck there are rare, just like a top ten driver on the NASCAR circuit. Nuances, quirks, all the foibles of the living, are just a bit of the recipe it takes to creating living, breathing characters. Like driver who saves a car that's too loose at 200 mph, racing three wide in a tight turn, the writer who can steady the book with a sure hand is a treasure. I hope I can get there. With the book, not the car. The car is way beyond my skills, LOL!