Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Those pesky characters

I wrapped up book 8 of my proposed 9 book series and am taking a break by writing another mystery.

I've been toying with the Beauty/Beast idea for a long time, and I finally got it percolated to the point I had the makings of a plot. I had my Beast (a woman injured that left her disfigured) and a hero. My original hero was her boyfriend from long ago who left her after the attack for reasons that made sense to me.

I started working on the backstory, most of which appears in snippets throughout the entire book, sprinkled here and there. But I like to get the backstory down so I have a good idea of who these characters are.

No matter what I did, I just couldn't make that guy into my hero. I could see how he would be the hero, but somehow it just didn't feel right. As soon as I cast him as the not-hero, or the maybe-hero, it felt right. Enter another guy who could really be the hero. Now *he* made sense to me. I could hear him and her talking in my head, I saw him interacting with the old man in the story, I visualized him working alongside the heroine.

Okay. So now I've got 2 guys in her life. When I'm thinking about my books, I either go for a drive or take a walk. I did both in this case: drove to a nearby town and went on the Parade of Homes (none of which will ever figure in a book I write because who the hell lives in those showplaces, I'd like to know. White carpeting? Seriously?)

But I got in a lot of walking and driving and by the time I came home, I knew who was who, who would be the bad guy, who would be the good guy, and what defined each as that.

Sometimes those characters just won't shape themselves into the mold we want. That's when it's time to step back and rethink and realize that maybe, subconsciously, we truly do know what's right.

Back to #amwriting!



Leah St. James said...

Great post, JL. I often wonder where those characters come from, how they just pop into our heads and refuse to be quieted. Sounds like a great story so far! And I'm with you on the white carpeting--had a friend when I was a kid whose living room was carpeted in white. We were forbidden from stepping a foot inside! White carpeting with kids?! What were they thinking?? Good luck with finishing the book.

Jannine Gallant said...

It's interesting how characters develop for us. Sometimes they won't work the way we expected. Easier to let them have their way than to beat them into submission!

Andrea Downing said...

This happened to me in the story I'm currently working on for a Christmas anthology--I got 10K down and it just wasn't working, just wasn't the story it should have been. So annoying. Started again. Glad you were able to make yours work, JL. And yes, these white carpeting/white sofa people obviously don't drink red wine. LOL

Rolynn Anderson said...

Letting the subconscious do the work is always my favorite tack. With little effort and a simple diversion, we can change history! But you and Vonnie have brains swollen with stories and people, so perhaps you need even more diversions than I do! (Permission granted) I wonder: a collaborative book by you and Vonnie? What fun that would be!

Margo Hoornstra said...

I’m a huge proponent of giving our characters their heads. There was a reason guy one just wasn’t feeling right to you. Now you know, huh?

Diane Burton said...

Great post! You can feel when something isn't right, like the wrong guy for the hero. Our "gut" knows. I like the Beauty & Beast tale reversed. That is so cool. Good luck with this new story. Can't wait to read it.

remullins said...

I like flawed almost heroes. Best of luck

Alicia Dean said...

Ha, interesting! I love the premise for the story. It's great that you figured out how things should be. Can't wait to read it!