Inspiration Overload

Like many writers, I find inspiration for stories in everything. An image, a place, a name, a word, a person... any or all of these can strike a fire in me and lead to hours of note taking so that I don't forget the story idea, and can come back to it when I have time.

For example, those of you who've been following me lately have seen how I love to participate and even host "flash fiction" type contests. Give me a word or a photo and a word count limit, and I'll try to write you something.

However, a muse can go into hyperdrive.

Yesterday, I spent some time hanging out with some friends of my family that I haven't seen in a long time (at least not in person). One of them was Gunnar -- the real Gunnar, who is the inspiration for the Gunnar of my in-progress fantasy trilogy.

I swear, I had so much fun. (He'll hate me if he reads this.) Because even though I wasn't consciously thinking about my character the entire time, I literally caught so many little quirks and tendencies of his that I really want to apply to my fictional character to make him more real.

BUT, after thinking about it, I know I can't actually put ALL of them into my story. If I were to do that, it would be too much for a reader to take... it would really be ridiculous. What's making me crazy is trying -- in my mind -- to decide which quirks to use, and which ones to take note of, but keep to myself.

RUE = Resist the Urge to Explain.

To my knowledge, this usually applies to background information -- history, religion, backstory, etc. -- but the more I think about it, the more I think it can apply to this too. We know so much about our characters, and it's important to relay much of that to the reader through their actions and habits...

...but how much is too much?

What do you think? Can you give a character too much detail?  Have you ever written or read something where this was the case? How did it feel? I'd love to hear your thoughts.



Baby update!
Little Peter is now about eleven inches, and weighs nearly a full pound -- the size of a spaghetti squash! WooHoo!

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