Posts Tagged ‘characters’
My instincts are right on track.
At least that’s the gist of the feedback from fellow NARWAn Kelly, the first person (besides myself) to read through the entire first draft of “Blind Date Bride.” All 330+ pages of it. (And it took her less than a week!) 😀
She loved the hero and heroine, Damien and Kari — always a good start. She found their best friends interesting, too (also good, because I always kind of envisioned giving them their own book.)
Her main suggestions for improvement: More sex (or at least thinking about sex), less eating; more explanation of the awful things Kari’s ex did to her to make her mistrust Damien at first; and a longer black moment — or at least one with more depth of despair.
I’d already been thinking I need to torture Kari and Damien a little more before I let them get back together … and I can see the other two points, as well.
It’s good to know I’m at least headed in the right direction. I can’t wait to get started on some revisions.
The plan is to start entering a few contests in preparation for next fall’s Golden Heart competition. (This is the story I’d wanted to enter last time, but didn’t think I’d have it finished. Turns out, I was right — but it’s going to be ready for the next one, doggone it … even if that does mean writing another synopsis.)
I spent some time this weekend looking through Debra Dixon’s infamous “Goal, Motivation and Conflict,” in case you couldn’t tell.
The goal, of course, is “what.” Motivation is the “why.” And conflict is the “why not.” Your character wants _______ because ______ but ________.
It seems so easy. Yet when I tried to put the principles to work in Brad & Erin’s story (my Golden Heart entry), it was short on both motivation and conflict.
Hmm. I’m back to that whole “polishing this thing for the GH is going to be more work than I thought” thing. It seems to be a recurring theme here.
I thought I was being smart by going with the already-finished manuscript instead of the one that still had 40,000 words to be completed. But by the time I fix it up, I’ll probably have done just as much work. I’m thinking I’ll have to take a week’s vacation right before the deadline to hole up somewhere and work on it. (Well, that’d be one way to burn one of the four weeks I get and have no idea what to do with — it’s not like I have the money to travel.)
Guess I’d better get to it. Poor Brad and Erin don’t have the ability to fix themselves — and I’m not going to let my entry fee go to waste.
Reading an article in a recent issue of Romance Writers Report got me thinking about the characters in the story I’ve been editing: Do I know my heroine as well as I know myself?
I sure should, since she’s me … or at least more me than most. Sure, I put a little bit of myself in all my heroines, but Erin is special. She’s the me of 10 years ago: an education reporter at a small-town newspaper (which I was) who’s tired of being alone (ditto) and decides she wants to date one of her coworkers (which I did — desperately) who treats her like a kid sister (which he did, probably thanks to the extra 100 or so pounds I carried back then).
There is where the similarities end, though. For one, Erin’s not overweight (romance heroines rarely are). She also longs to leave her boring small-town life for the bright lights of a big city. Me, I decided the big city wasn’t for me about the same time I realized I didn’t really want to be the next Woodward and Bernstein, uncovering government corruption.
Yes, that’s why I wanted to get into journalism … well, that and the ability to actually make a living with my writing. I wanted to make a name for myself by uncovering a huge scandal. A year of covering cops, courts and city council cured me of that notion. I found government reporting mind-numbingly boring. Give me the features desk any day.
But to get back to my point: Sometimes I wonder if I know Erin well enough. Perhaps one of the reasons I’m having trouble editing this thing is that she’s not memorable or quirky enough. Her goal of uncovering a big scandal at the hero’s school (and using the story as a steppingstone to get a job at a bigger paper) isn’t clear enough.
It also hit me last night that my hero is kind of boring. Brad is, well, a bit of a Boy Scout (which makes it interesting when Erin suspects he might be involved in the big school scandal).
The other guy, Mike (the one Erin thinks she wants to date and who gets his own story — the last of three), is more interesting. Between his seemingly undeserved reputation as the office Romeo and his penchant for consuming mass quantities of snacks, he’s more memorable than Brad.
Uh-oh. I think that means I’m in trouble.