Perhaps you are not aware that a small farm that does not need to make a profit and that has only a few of some adorable animals is referred to as a hobby farm. In New Zealand, it’s call a lifestyle block. As more city dwellers long for the joys of a simple, country life, small farms are growing in popularity.
The term hobby horse goes back beyond the times of children’s toys and is associated with May Day celebrations in England, and other holidays all over the Known World. Eventually the term came to represent a particular interest or cause, and finally boiled down to the word hobby to mean something you enjoy doing.
Your characters need hobbies! Think of any character you particularly love, and that character will no doubt have interests. Elizabeth Bennet loved to walk, to read, could play the pianoforte if she desired, though she claimed no special talent at it, and most of all loved to find the absurd in people and situations around her.
Luke Skywalker liked to go to town with his friends, talk about the war against the Empire, and shoot womp rats. Captain James Kirk and James Bond not only shared a first name, they shared a hobby of women. Sherlock Holmes played the violin and took opium to relax. No, really! Mary Poppins liked to toy with the weather and had one of the earliest bags of holding. Buffy Summers, slayer of vampires, knew her way around a make-up bag.
My characters in the Regency Banquet series have hobbies, although I didn’t touch too much on them in the novella Appetizer – Pure Seduction. Ellen has a thirst for knowledge, for keeping up with her brothers, and for proving to herself that her father does love her. Roland Curtis wants to stop being known only as the oldest twin and find glory and honor in the army. Bernard is learning all he can about horses, because he really likes the animal and hopes some day to get his father’s permission to breed them on the family estates.
You probably know how much I love Molly Harper’s paranormal romances. I’m currently enjoying the story of Iris Scanlon’s little sister Gigi. Her vampire is tall, blond, brooding, and mysterious. Gigi works in the IT world, having stumbled upon her aptitude for computers while keeping sweet boyfriend Ben company in his class. That kind of serendipity adds so much to a story.
Characters can be placed in time often through their hobbies. A medieval woman would stitch, play chess, and plot to take over the castle. A modern woman would play paint ball, rent surveillance equipment, and text one-handed in the dark.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.