When I came up with this post, I was thinking about how I perceive the world around me and how difficult it can be to keep my characters from becoming ‘mini-me’s. I know what I think (most of the time) but I need to understand different opinions and what might make someone look at the same thing as me but see something totally different. Sometimes it’s easy, most of the time, not so much. Keeping my characters from sharing all my own opinions is a challenge. If you’re not keeping characters from sharing your opinions, consider this.
Have you ever seen the TV show Leverage? It’s an amusing, Robin Hood type show (one my tween son and I both actually like.) My favorite episode (called The Rashomon Job) is a fun example of how characters see the world around them through their own goals and preconceptions. In this story, the characters describe a museum function they all attended years before they knew each other. They explain what they did that evening and their interactions with each other, but every version had a different spin. I’ve seen lots of shows do something similar, but this is my favorite attempt. I laugh every time.
It’s a great example of how a character’s goals and preconceptions influence their view of the world. And, how difficult it can be to put those ideas aside. People make assumptions all the time because of their own experiences. I’ll admit that I often make snap decisions about the situations I observe. Someone parks in a handicap spot, but seems to walk just fine?—How horrible, they should leave that space to someone who needs it. Someone tailgates my car and at the first opportunity whizzes by me? A$@hole.
But who am I to judge? How do I know what they’re going through? I’m not a doctor, just because someone looks perfectly mobile to me, doesn’t mean they are. And maybe that person behind me is late to pick their child up from school. I’ve been there, I know the feeling. The great thing about writing is, if my character makes a stupid assumption in the first draft, I can always revise it later. Wouldn’t that be nice in real life?
As a writer, I have to get into my characters’ heads. How would they look at the world? What would they think in a particular situation? It’s a lot of fun, but it has also made me take a good look at myself (not quite as much fun, lol) but definitely worth the effort. Hopefully, I’m a better person for it as well as a better writer.
A Romance Novella Anthology
Four restless ghosts…four tales of love.
The Witching Hour by Ruth A. Casie ~ Lost: One locket filled with memories. Will finding it lead to peace and happiness?
The Ghost of You by Emma Kaye ~ A ghost saved his life, then broke his heart. Years later, he may have found a way to bring her back, but will the act of saving her destroy him?
A Spirit’s Bond by Nicole S. Patrick ~ A connection, which knows no boundaries, helps a couple find their way to love.
Kindred Spirits by Lita Harris ~ A young widow must find a way to work through her grief in order to move on and find happiness once again.
I don’t do a lot of promo, I’m seriously bad at it. So I would say the most important thing you can do for your book is to have a decent cover. As an example of how this helps, I write in anthologies with three other authors. Recently, we rebranded the covers in a series. At a recent book signing, people noticed the branding and rather than pick up just one book, the majority of them decided to buy all three.
Take what works and leave the rest. I tend to be pretty insecure. When I first started writing, if I received a negative critique I made the change. It didn’t matter if their comment worked for what I was trying to accomplish and I would end up with crap I didn’t even like. But thankfully, I teamed up with a fantastic critique group—Ruth A. Casie, Lita Harris, and Nicole S. Patrick. Through their help, I learned to trust myself more and truly own my story. Yes, I listen to what they have to say, but in the end, it’s my story and I have to do what I think works best. I’m much happier for it. (And I hope my readers are as well.)
Emma Kaye is married to her high school sweetheart and has two beautiful kids that she spends an insane amount of time driving around New Jersey. Before ballet and Scouts entered her life, she decided to try writing one of those romances she loved to read and discovered a new passion. She’s been writing ever since. Add in a hyper dog and an extremely patient cat and she’s living her own happily ever after while making her characters work hard to reach theirs.
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