Over the weekend I read several blogs about character development. Doing this reinforced my belief that without strong characters, the story will be flat. No one will care. No one will identify with the big picture because you forgot about the most important element–A STRONG CHARACTER who carries the story.
And as I’ve said before, it’s the small details that resonate their humanity. How they look, feel, think, react, and respond are key. Then there’s the surroundings they live in and how they are perceived by others characters.
Since sending off FINDING GESSLER, I’ve become totally immersed in STEPHANIA COMES TO AMERICA–the next novel I plan for publication in about six months. So once again, I must face Stephania.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know the trouble this character, Stephania, has consistently given, She’s beautiful and willful. She likes getting her own way. She’s selfish and scheming. In a word, she’s a bitch.
But I can’t write her as a one-dimensional character, so I have been looking for ways to make her vulnerable I’ve searched for ways for readers to feel empathy toward her, even though she does outrageous things. And that my friends, hasn’t been the easiest thing to do.
I finally realized the problem lies with me. Because I’m a “What you see is what you get” person, and I’ve never put on a false face to do anything, come hell or high water. I don’t understand Stephania. She’s not in my “wheelhouse.” Even my vivid imagination has failed me.
So after working on this book for almost a year now, I was pleasantly surprised recently when I had a breakthrough. I let Stephania take control. I stopped driving her and let her take me on the journey she must travel. And it’s working. She’s finally in my head, creating herself as she must. I even had a friend interview me as Stephania and discovered I know her better than I ever thought I did.
So, hopefully Stephania is not just pulling my leg and letting me take a peek at her right now. I’m praying she doesn’t turn off and tune out in the coming months just to frustrate me further. After all, she could do such a thing; it’s part of her nature. Remember, she is a bitch.