I was talking to my husband last night about the story I am currently working on and as I told him about some big changes I am making he started to ask some questions about my characters. As we talked he shared his ideas about their development and the ancillary characters. His perspective was enlightening and really made me think of the way I was drawing them.
His ideas were refreshing and the male perspective drew out thoughts and new directions for the storyline. I was given so many ways to pull the best of the their personalities into focus and make the story flow. The power of defining the characters instincts based on their true natures is a basic part of a character driven story. Showing the reader who they are inside and playing it out in their actions gives depth to their lives and brings the reader into an understanding of motivations.
When I described a scene I thought would be a motivation for my lead male he said a man like my lead wouldn’t respond that way. As he explained what would be a better response it was more realistic for the storyline and transferred the beginning for my characters iinto one that reconciles who they are and why they react the way they do to the circumstances they are thrust into.
I am lucky that I am married to a reader. It is interesting because though we read very different books there is always the format for books that cross genre’s and give additional perspective that can be applied to any work. It is always good to get that other point of view.
I spent most of last night’s insomnia story plotting.
The historical story that needs the big showdown, the 1886 setting that needs to be converted to present day, the contemporary set in Hawaii with characters that need to find a way to each other and so many more. These people kept pushing into my mind insisting that I focus on them and their lives.
I couldn’t shut their voices off.
These people are real in my imagination. I know what their voices sound like, the way they walk and the good and bad of their personalities. I can see the way they move their hands and hear the way they laugh. Their lives are reality in my imagination and the way they respond to the situations I put them in is as predictable as the real humans I interact with in my real life.
I am fortunate that my husband is very helpful in providing a male perspective when I’m not quite there or stuck on how my character will express himself. He can also help with motivation for why my character would react in a certain way or where the confusion comes from that my lead man is experiencing.
It surprises me how often I will write for a while constructing a scene that, as I am writing, I am having so much fun. It pours out of me as it is unfolding. I will stop for a break and then come back and after reading it I think, “Where did this come from?” It doesn’t work. It is so out of character for my people or it stops the action in a way that I have to let it go if it cannot be adapted or modified. It is hard to let go of words that came from my heart.
Time to get going. Rock on!