I decided not to write this weekend. I needed to give my brain a bit of a break and to houseclean because...well, things were looking bad. :)
But, as always happens with a writer, once I stopped thinking about my book, I began to get tons of inspirations. Enough that I constantly found myself running for a pen and paper (as I vacuumed and steamed the floors) and eventually I just put a notebook and pen on the kitchen table so I wouldn't miss a good idea.
What was coming to me so fast and furious?
Ideas about my characters. Not how they looked or the ping of sparkle that came to their gleaming white teeth. But things about them I hadn't realized last week as I was furiously writing toward my 3000 words per day goal.
For instance, Laura Beth, the heroine, is the third heroine of a three-book series about friends who graduate college and move to NYC to become big-time career women. Heroines 1 and 2 find themselves (where they belong in the career world) and love...leaving poor Laura Beth in the dust. This impacts lots of her decisions. But even after the decisions are made, she's still living with the sting of failing while her two friends have succeeded.
She doesn't want to return to Kentucky, so she takes a low level job in Italy that comes with room and board. At first she's so excited to be in Italy, on her own, working to get herself together in this low level job that feels like a reprieve, that she forgets her issues...but I can't! I'm the author. It's MY JOB to stir up trouble for her.
The hero was a foster child, whose wealthy father found him five years ago, just when he was breaking out as a painter -- not house painter, artist. :) Everything happened fast for him. His dad found him. He became famous. He became rich. He entered a whole new circle of friends, married a super model, built a big house...became accustomed to servants and jets and limos...
Then he discovered his wife was cheating on him right before she was killed in a plane crash. He didn't actually lose everything, but suddenly he wonders if any of it matters anymore.
I think you can easily see how his "big picture" troubles kept me from thinking about "the little things" that would give the story depth. There should be times in the story when the hero breaks down and tells the heroine about his foster child past. He should tell her that though he loves the father who finally tracked him down, he is angry that when his mother told his father about her pregnancy the wealthy old coot kicked her out of his office. Constanzo could have saved them a lifetime of pain if, for once in his life, he would have listened. I can't let his status as widow take over. There's more to this guy than just a dead wife. <3 p="">
And what about her? Why is it so important she succeed in New York? What happened to her? Olivia and Eloise, the heroines from the first two books had terrible pasts. Laura Beth comes from a loving family...why is she so driven?
Pausing to clean my house didn't merely cause these questions and realities to tiptoe into my brain, they made me think harder, dig deeper, find those things that will cause readers to gasp or to feel the characters' pain.
So if your house is neat as a pin, take a walk. LOL But take a pencil and paper with you. Because even when you think you know everything there is to know about your characters, a trip through their pasts might just net you that one emotional event or experience that can turn your story on its ear...or give you the connection you need to make with readers to give them a truly remarkable experience.
Happy Monday...And happy reading!