In my younger years, my mother, far ahead of her time, knew that working in the sun could cause cancer. She tried to make me wear one of her sunbonnets for protection while working in our backyard garden. I refused that hot covering. Later, she urged me to wear a large brimmed hat. Not for me. In my teen years, Jacqueline Kennedy inspired a small hat to complement dresses worn in public. I fell for that minimum style. I bought a few to match my Sunday church outfits. I had a full rack of various colors and materials for many years. Then the woman’s hat craze quit. Now, I wear a brimmed hat when I walk on sunny days.
Symbolically, I juggle several hats from writer to editor. Even editing has two hats different hat styles. As the publicity editor for Tri-Valley Writers, a branch of the California Writers Club, I’m required to use Associated Press (AP) style. As a writer and freelance editor of stories and novels, I have to follow the Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition.
So what’s the difference? Many things from punctuation to capitalization. That made me think of the quirks of my main character. A detective with a sheriff’s office, she has a greater responsibility to solve major crimes than the deputies assigned to traffic duty, but she often forgets she’s part of the team. What attributes does she have that earned her that promotion? What quirks make the other deputies dislike her? After hours, what hat does she wear to distinguish her in the community?
I’ve crafted a resilient character filled with an inner turmoil that surfaces too often and creates external conflict with her coworkers. She prefers to work alone, keep her personal life secret, and fight her own emotional demons. That’s only resolved during a conflict when life is in danger, and she has to shuffle hats to let others help her.
Too bad she wasn’t an editor before she made a career in law enforcement. She could have learned to work with others, and I wouldn’t have had to put her in that life-threatening situation.