Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Falling in love with your character...

I think it's necessary when writing a story that you genuinely like your characters... even the bad guys. If you don't like the product of your creation, in my opinion, you might want to review why you've even created them. That said, I've found it doubly necessary since romance is my chosen genre of writing, that you must not only like your lead male, you need to love him as well.
If you're writing romance, the point should be that your readers understand and become as emotionally involved with your leading male as much as the leading female has to in order for it to be considered the least bit romantic.
In the first Bimini, The Romance, it took me awhile (and a lot of tweaks to the character) to fall in love with John but by the time I finished, I was as over the moon for him as Laurel was. He epitomized the stead-fast, ever conservative male who loved deeply but wasn't sure how to show it and so his methods in expressing that love left a lot to desired. He was a little repressed in a cute way and even a little up tight so that when we finally get a chance to see him let his proverbial hair down, not only is it endearing but it's sexy too.
While writing the sequel, falling in love with this new leading male has been instantaneous. He's so opposite end of the spectrum from John with his passion and his humor that almost before I had his character fully outlined, I was in love. He's a man I think most women would be attracted to. He's a mixed bag.... part bad boy, part wounded dove, part instinctual protector and caretaker. Where John was just a little out of his element, this new guy IS the element.
In my first blog on this site, I talked about patterning my characters off of people that I've known or know. I think it's important to note that even though you're patterning your characters after someone, it doesn't mean that they ARE that person. Your patterns should be just that... a pattern. You take certain parts from those people and sometimes, parts from others as well and you mix them and shape them into what your readers should see as a man they could easily become entangled with. So, where I had a little trouble in the beginning of the first book seeing myself with John, I've had no trouble emotionally entangling myself with this new character from the get-go. He's more my kinda guy, I guess. Easy on the eyes, good to the core and has a love of life that matches my own with a little bit of a hot temper that puts the right spin on his passionate nature.
Someone once told me that it's not good for writers to become emotionally involved with their characters because it makes the process of ending the book difficult or Heaven forbid, killing them off should a later story line call for that. "Emotional investment," they said, "is for the reader."
I don't remember who it was, but I do remember disagreeing then and I still disagree to this day. If you can't fall hopelessly in love with your characters as you're creating them, then how can you expect your readers to?

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