Thursday, February 19, 2015

So Many Things to Love, so Little Time

The way to know life is to love many things ~ Van Gogh

I'd never heard this quote, and I am not into art, but I must say, Van Gogh is spot on. I believe a person's life is richer the more things, and people, they love. I have friends and family who have not tapped in to their interests, their passion, and they do not seem as happy or fulfilled as they should be. I probably love too many things. :) Of course, there's the reading and writing. But, I also have a lot of other interests that take time away from the reading and writing. I love watching tv, movies, sports. I love traveling. At one time, I played golf, but I am afraid I've let that fall by the wayside, and I miss it a great deal. I also have a ton of friends and family I enjoy spending time with. 

I think it's important to give our characters things to love, which is something I often forget. We need to remember that they are real, living, breathing, 3 D humans who have likes and dislikes just like we do. When I remember to do this, my characters become more real and I can more easily connect to them. I am not great at developing characters and filling out long, involved character worksheets, but if I ask myself a few questions, other than the standard, physical appearance, age, occupation, family life, etc, it helps to round out the people in my story: (It's also helpful to do this for villains)

Who is his or her favorite person to spend time with and why? Favorite place to be?
What is his or her favorite movie, hobby, music, food? If they could have any occupation in the world, what would it be and why?
What is the character doing when they are not 'on screen' in the story?
What is the character's greatest wish? Greatest fear? Greatest flaw? Greatest quality?
Probably most important: What is their core need? Not the obvious goal, but really, deep down, why they have that goal. For example, my goal for my character in Without Mercy was to protect her child. Of course, obviously, every mother wants to protect her child, but deep down, China was even more motivated to do so because she grew up the child of missionary parents who were away a great deal and didn't put her first. She's determined that her daughter will not feel abandoned like she did.

Think about the character in your latest manuscript. What is their core need and how does it drive them?

Check out this awesome trailer:


How far will a mother go to protect her child?

When an apparently random bank robbery turns out to be a sinister plan, single mother China Beckett is thrust into a nightmare.

A group of mercenaries take over her life, threatening her young daughter and everyone they love. Each time China makes a mistake, someone dies. She’ll fight to the last breath to protect her child, but that might not be enough. 

As the lives of China’s loved ones are jeopardized, she must take action, although she has no idea where to turn—and time is running out. But then, a startling truth is revealed and China discovers that the only person who can save them might be a ghost from the past.


“The robbery was only a small part. You will know more when the time is right. Right now, all you have to know is that we expect complete obedience.”

“Obedience? You invaded my home. Threatened my life. My daughter’s life.” China ran a shaky hand through her hair and shook her head. “You want me to do what you say and won’t even tell me why you’re doing this. This is too bizarre. Too much. I can’t—” She sighed, shook her head again. “I can’t do this. I don’t understand why.”

“Perhaps this will help.” Royce motioned with his hand, and Marcel came around to place the laptop case on the table. He slid out a computer and booted it up. His stubby fingers clicked a few times on the keyboard before he turned the laptop around facing her and Royce.

The screen filled with what seemed to be a live feed of a coffee shop. At a small round table next to the window, a professionally dressed man and woman leisurely sipped from cups. Only a few other patrons were in camera range. One was a teenage boy who stood behind the couple, staring up at the menu; the other a young mother with two small children at a table nearby. China frowned. She didn’t know any of them. “I don’t know what you want. What am I supposed to be looking at?”

“Which one?” Royce asked.

“Which one what?”

Royce tapped a finger on the screen, first on the man, then his female companion. “Which one do you want to die?”


Jannine Gallant said...

I like those character questions, Ally. I'm going to have to do that. I tend to focus on a single quirk. I need to expand the scope! OMG, nice cliffhanger! Wow, you've written a real sweetheart of a villain!

Alicia Dean said...

Glad you like them. I have to really force myself to get to know my characters because they don't speak to me like they do to other authors. :) Thanks...glad you like the cliffhanger. Yes, there is a group of villains in this story, and they're pretty nasty.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Some pretty nasty villains indeed. You really sucked me in with the excerpt. Gotta get, and read, this one.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Hit publish before I was done. I've often asked some of those questions about my characters and am amazed at some of the answers I get.

Diane Burton said...

I really enjoyed Without Mercy. Not your mother's romance. LOL Your post really made me think about the heroine in my WIP. She is so focused on her business to the exclusion of everything else. I'm thinking the hero needs to point this out to her. She'll probably whap him upside the head. :)

Leah St. James said...

I loved this story, too. Great character questions, like Jannine said. I never do big character profiles either. (Even when I do, I tend to forget!)

Alicia Dean said...

Thanks, Margo. I hope you enjoy if you read it. Yes, it is surprising sometimes, and enlightening. :)

Alicia Dean said...

Haha, Diane, well, if she does, that should make for an interesting scene! Thanks a bunch, I agree, not your mother's romance :)

Alicia Dean said...

Thank you, Leah! I also forget, and quite frankly, I just don't really know, or need to know quite that much about my characters. :)

Rolynn Anderson said...

Sounds like a suspenseful story, Alicia, and good point about passions. I, too am one who loves many, many things, golf included. I play twice a week for the love of the game and as my social outlet. Both are important to me. Sounds like you'd like to get out there and play 18...go for it! Good luck with your novel!

Alicia Dean said...

Thanks so much, Rolynn. Yes, I do need to get back out there, but I think I should start with 9 :)