My stories are always character driven. Before I can tell their story, I have to know them inside and out, as Bobby Stockwood might say. But he wasn't the character that spawned this story.
Abigail Martin whispered in my ear one day that she was in her thirties, never been married, bored with her job and ready to let her hair down, so to speak. She didn't have a name to start with but when I thought about a woman whose biological clock was ticking, the girl next door living in Amarillo, Texas, the name Abigail popped into my head. And since she's on the average side of most everything in life, she couldn't have a very colorful last name. Sorry all you Martins out there but it's a pretty tame, average name.
She needed someone as colorful and unique as she was mellow and average. In walked Bobby Stockwood. Bobby is a redheaded cowboy with a quick wit and a romantic soul. He's been married twice, has a ranch and a family business, loves to dance, sings off key and is damn sexy.
After I had their physical attributes and their personalities entered into my character study outlines, I needed their histories. Much of the history of my characters will never appear in the story. This is one thing that is hard to grasp for new writers. As a writer, you build a good deal of information on both the characters and the back story. It's tempting to show how much you know and all the research done to make the book work. Exciting stuff for a writer. For the reader - not so much. But in order to write believable fiction a writer needs to know it all.
Once I knew them, I could build the story. And if Abigail was looking for a little excitement and change in her life, waking up with a redheaded stranger the morning after her best friend's third wedding was a good place to start. Ah, love at first sight for Bobby the night before. Abigail is of course more pragmatic, especially since the night before is nothing but a blur. Oops!
And as love blooms for her, a problem arises. All stories need conflict. You have to make your characters work for their happily ever after. Life is not all peaches and cream, and if you want your fiction to be believable, your characters must suffer. I can't give it away, but it feels life altering for Abigail. In the end, the resolution is fun.
That's a brief look at how I build a story. The spark comes to me from a word, a phrase, a concept or out of the blue. But once that tiny bit of information is in my head, I build the characters. Their story unfolds, but I usually have to search hard for the conflict and resolution.
Can there really be love at first sight?
Abigail Martin doesn’t think so. Unless the sexy redheaded stranger she wakes up with the morning after her best friend’s wedding is telling the truth.
Bobby Stockwood fell cowboy-hat-over-boot-heels for the brown-haired beauty, and married her in an impromptu wedding ceremony. Now he just has to convince his new bride that the morning after can be the first day of the rest of their lives.
But just when Abigail starts believing the fairy-tale is real, she finds out exactly who Bobby is, and the walls of make-believe start crumbling down.
Brenda and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. Recently, they moved to prairie country in Arizona and are enjoying the wide-open spaces while tending fruit trees and veggie gardens. They share their space with their dog, Rusty. When Brenda isn’t at her laptop writing, she enjoys hiking, motorcycle riding and the company of good friends.
Visit Brenda at www.brendawhiteside.com.
Or on FaceBook: www.facebook.com/BrendaWhitesideAuthor
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com
She blogs about prairie life on her personal blog http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/
Great post. Love hearing how you begin. And when characters are so close to your heart, the readers feel it to :)
Thanks for the giveaway! lisarayns(at)gmail.com
Can't wait to read your newest Brenda...I want to be Abigail!! Haha....we can all use some 'damn sexy' :)
Just finished this one. Bobby is definitely sexy! I usually start with plot, not characters. But for my Honky Tonk story, it was characters first. Maybe there's something about this series that demands quirky characters.
Thanks, Lisa and Nancy. I have fun with the character building.
And thank you, Jannine. You may be right!
I totally agree with you, Brenda, about stories
being character driven. I've got a second book
coming out soon Squinting Over Water - Stories
and they all revolve around the character's unique
life view and situation. I'm about to embark on my first
novel for this year's NaNoWriMo November writing
contest so wish we luck. Oh, and I am soooo
envious of your gypsy lifestyle. I have two older Goldens and two puppies so my restless spirit
has been squelched for a bit. Thank goodness we can escape through reading and the Internet!
Mary Kennedy Eastham
I really enjoyed your blog, Brenda. As a new writer I struggle a bit with what should come first. I'm not a plotter, but I get an idea, and I get an initial feel for my characters. My biggest problem is deciding what the true conflict is, and then articulating that. Sometimes I think I should do more plotting, but I usually get ansy to start writing.
Mary, Good luck on NaNoWriMo. I've never tried it. Your book sounds intriguing. Good luck!
Anne, you have to do what feels right. I'm not a plotter either. I had to recently write two synopses before starting the books and it was torture. Then when I started writing one of them, new ideas popped into my head. It will be interesting to see if the books resemble the synopses by the time I'm done. LOL
Thoroughly enjoyed learning how your story came about. The Morning After is definitely on my list of soon to be reads. The Honky Tonk series is great.
Thanks, Margo. I'm in agreement about the series. I've loved every book I've read in it so far and I have more to read.
Hi Brenda! I love the concept of the two very different types of characters falling for each other. Sounds like Abigail likes all her ducks in a row while Bobby enjoys taking risks. This sounds like a great story!
nona at nonaraines dot com
Opposites attract? Thanks, Nona!
Would love to enter - kathrynknightbooks at comcast.net.
Thank you, Kathryn. Got you entered!
Congratulations, Mary. You are the winner of an ebook of The Morning After.
Thank you all for dropping by and commenting.
And if you'd like to stop by my web site and check out my contest page, you might score some other goodies!
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