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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Character Frustrations

Characters can be funny. When I started the Work In Progress (WIP), it was in my heroine's Point Of View (POV), and though I had a few fits and starts, she was talking and it rolled. Then I hit chapter 2 and it was in the hero's POV and I struggled to find his voice. I kept thinking maybe I should just stay in her head since I'm having so much trouble with him.

Then, as it turned out, I trashed everything I had and started over with that chapter 2 scene in my hero's voice/head. After some revision and smoothing, it worked and then it was time to do the new chapter 2 in my heroine's POV.

Um, yeah. She's not talking now. Because of what happened between the original chapter 1 and the new chapter 2, how she thinks and feels has changed in the story has changed dramatically. That means the pages I have from earlier aren't helping me get in her head for the pages I need to write and they're not helping me figure out what she's thinking and feeling now.

I know she's nervous, but I'm not sure if she's unnerved by the situation or the hero or both. But at the same time, she's a confident person and she's dealt with a lot of people in her life. She's not going to be a tongue-tied wallflower. But knowing what she's not isn't helping me figure out what she is.

That leads to a lot of cutting. I write some, it feels wrong, I mull, and then I delete what I have and start over. I've done that a lot with this story, more than I have with any other at least with the first two chapters. I'm hoping that once the situation and characters are in place that things will be easier.

In the meantime, I get no real guidance from her and I write blind. The other morning we've (that would be the heroine and I) decided that regret is too strong a word choice. We're going to try sorry and see how that works. A day later, she decides that yes, regret is the appropriate word. She's killing me!

The ironic thing in all this is that I'm putting together a workshop for Romance Divas called Torture For Writers: Putting the Screws To Recalcitrant Characters. None of my outlined methods are working here. Of course, my heroine isn't exactly recalcitrant, just reticent, so maybe that's the difference. End result is the same, though--no keepable pages. Maybe I just need a day where I immerse myself in my heroine's world. I have a lot of music on my iPod for her, so it might be a viable option even though I rarely write with any sound to distract me.