Tag Archives: characters

Field Trip!

I have big plans for this weekend. Not as big as the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, of course, but big on the research for a new series.

For the RT lowdown, head over to here to read and then come back.

Fun, right? But what’s this weekend? And that new series? Drumroll, please…

Introducing the American West series. Four stories set during the American expansion era. I have four books planned for sure about the Santa Fe Trail, the Orphan Train, the Pony Express, and a Northwest Shipping adventure. Characters from my Oregon Trail series will make guest appearances, too, and I’m so looking forward to seeing them again.

I’ll post on Monday what we did and saw on our intense research weekend.

#MondayBlogs and Spring Fever!

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Our weather in the Midwest US has been so lovely this week! I’ve struggled to stay inside and work but gave up on everything last Saturday. My husband and I spent the day running around town. I even took off a lot of Sunday. I’ve not taken off that much time in a row for weeks.

I needed the break. After going over The Very Best Man for its rerelease, Surplus, the fourth book in the Nova Scotia Murder Mysteries needed me. I’m almost done with chapter three and while that doesn’t sound like enough, there are only twelve chapters plotted. My only hang up is the murder is a stabbing, exactly what happened in Pleasures. Does it bother anyone else when a murder mystery series has too many of the same kind of deaths? Appearances is going to have a unique murder, Rage is a bit predictable but not a stabbing, and Honeymoon? I don’t know how I’m killing that random character.

Creepy, isn’t it? Such fun, though! Being a writer is the best job I’ve ever had. The boss, me, is a bit of a hard ass, however. Never letting me goof off outside or anywhere else, really.

“You guys are being too noisy for me to hear the voices in my head.”

Yeah, I said it. Voices in the head.

It’s an occupational hazard for a writer to hear others’ conversations in your mind. Hearing these people created by an imagination, overactive or not, is something a lot of fiction writers will only admit to in closed circles. Creating a true three dimensional character is something like creating a child. After a certain point, you have no control over anything they do.

Some writers start with character. Others start with a setting or conflict and see what character best fits. I tend to be in the characters first, situations second. I also close my eyes and ‘watch’ the book in my imagination, like recalling a memorized movie. Often this movie will have deleted scenes inserted in places that just work. Like, I didn’t plan for this secondary character to be run over by a wheel. It just happened. I have to admit, accidental scenes tend to happen when I’m bored with writing description. Dialogue is my strong suit, not details. That’s ok, too. Somewhere there’s a writer needing me to read over their dialogue to see why the words aren’t flowing.  Just as much as I need someone to tell me they need to know more about what’s happening.

But, back to writers and their mentality. I can imagine living with a writer can be difficult. It’s their nature to extrapolate everything. It’s also their nature to tell you to look up extrapolate if you don’t know what it means. They also say weird things like, “I wonder what would happen if we found a dead body in there” when stopped at an interstate rest stop. Not comforting, no. Something I’m not sure my husband loves is how I can have an entire silent argument with him without us saying a word. He also doesn’t know we’re having one until I tell him, “Fine. You’re right. Whatever.” Though he likes being right, he has no idea how I had a thought, imagined his response, responded to that, and back and forth until one of us won. I know, not normal, but somewhat typical of fiction writers.

What’s the take away from all this? For me, the best part of writing is creating everything in my mind or on paper and then giving my imagination free reign. Second best part? Rereading and completely enjoying what I wrote.  No, that doesn’t happen every time.  Feeling odd because your characters have minds and voices of their own?  Don’t.  It just means you did a great job in creating them.

I Need More Sex

I’m halfway through with writing a book, Undesirable.  The plan?  To have it chock full of hot, romantic, adulterous pioneer sex.

The result so far?  Not even a kiss between the two main characters.  This is a romance, they’re supposed to at least kiss.

Not until chapter six, I guess.

So, the question on most non-writer’s minds is most likely why can’t I just force the issue?  Aren’t I, as the author, the one in control?

To which I answer, I was in control, but now I’m not.  I created the setting and conflict.  I created the characters, each with their own lives and motivations.  They’re not 3-D, more like 100-D, with that many dimensions to them.  Again, why can I not ‘write’ them what to do?

Because my work with creating them is done. It’s kind of like having adult children.  You can set things up to be easy or difficult, but in the end, character drives their actions.  I think in the best stories I’ve ever watched or read, the characters are always true to themselves.  Sam in Undesirable is a straight arrow, intent on right and wrong.  Even if wrong is where he wants to go, he won’t because that’s not who he is.  Marie, his love interest in the novel, is also an honest person.  Her feelings for Sam are growing but her love for her husband is keeping her from giving in to them.  Me?  I’d planned on them having a make out session in chapter one, and yet, it’s in chapter six that they kiss.  I’m not even sure they’ll do that, to be honest.

So now I put it back on you.  Are readers in an instant gratification world fine with extended sexual tension?  Can characters be truly that strong in a writer’s mind that they call the shots?  Is adding violence a good way to substitute for the lack of sex?