I was on vacation in the outer banks, NC last week. What a great time. The weather was perfect–sunny and hot, the water was refreshing, and the sand like sugar. But, I didn’t vacation alone; the characters from my new novel went with me.
Maybe this sounds a little weird; maybe you’re thinking you should call a professional to look in on me. But, It’s not that weird if you think about it.
Characters over story
Characters are the main element of your story. Sure, I know. You’re gonna say your plot is more important and I’m gonna disagree. In fact, you don’t have to listen to me; listen to the NY Times review that suggests there are only 7 story lines. Ever.
Those seven plot lines are:
- Overcoming the Monster,
- Rags to Riches,
- The Quest,
- Voyage and Return,
- Comedy and
So, there’s nothing unique about your storyline.
Sure, I know. You need to think about all the particulars of your story: pacing, settings, etc. But, it’s your characters that really draw in the reader.
Even in plot-driven writing, where the plot is more important than the internal conflict faced by your character, characters are important. I really only care if the shark eats your character if you’ve made me care about your character. Otherwise, chomp away. I only care about your characters romance, if I first care about your characters.
That said, your story and the settings in your story should help me understand your character: what he/she does, what they look like, what they say — all contribute to both the story and toward building strong characters.
Why I take my characters with me
So, why did I take my characters to the beach with me?
Simple, I wanted to see how they’d react to my setting. What would they do? What would they think? What might happen to them? Taking my characters with me gave me an insight into their character and helped me build them out more.
Plus, just like a good friend, I didn’t want to totally lose touch with them for an entire week. I considered what they might be doing in my story during the week I was on hiatus.
Rather than coming back to writing, I really didn’t leave it–even though I didn’t write much while I was gone.
What my characters did at the beach
My characters had a great time while I was at the beach last week.
Angelica Martinez, the doctor who treated survivors at Arturo’s place in Book 1 was taken by an unknown woman in Book 2. We don’t really know much about that, except that Juan Torres, who works for the FBI in Mexico and is her boyfriend, is looking for her.
John Boyd is working through the State Department since it’s becoming clear the recent murders are related to someone with interests in the unity of the Ukraine.
Charlie Cooper is our hacker, hired by someone??? to cause all 3 murders. Charlie was asked to speed up the timeline to the next murder for this client.
Learn more about the characters
Some folks seek out readers with specific characteristics, some pay for expert readers, some join writing groups where they exchange reading for getting critiques. I use Beta readers who get a free review copy.
Join my Beta reader list and get your FREE copy of ‘Buried Ladies‘ here