The Freelance Writing Organization - Int'l Writing Links and Resources www.fwointl.com
A free site that hosts thousands of writing resources and links in a massive online database. 40+ genres, funds for writers, job listings, education, news, submission calls, research library. Resources range from adventure to westerns, agents to publishers. Professional resources for editors, journalists and writers.
During her evolution I had to question why I was led in the direction of creating a house and home environment that was of the utmost importance to this emerging character. Yes, she was an army brat so the constant movement in her childhood might make her long for a house of her own. But I felt the desire for a home could symbolize something deeper, a longing and need that would also impact her professional and emotional life.
Suddenly I realized there was a compelling reason that Josie needed to feel grounded: her mother had disappeared when Josie was 13 and home was never the same. Josie was always looking for a sense of well-being and stability she didn’t have as a young woman. If no one was going to give it to her, she would create it herself.
That nugget of information led me to realize that Josie would have an emotional need to be loved but an intellectual aversion to appearing needy. Therefore, the man in her life had to be equal to her – neither Alpha male nor Beta. Her law partner became a grandmotherly sort; a woman ready to retire who wanted to take on a partner to whom she could pass on her practice.
As these characters fell into place, I understood that I had created a family for Josie, one that would protect her if needed, save her if needed, but also allow her to grow. Josie’s abandonment issues also meant she would champion the underdog in any courtroom drama.
Finally, I opened up the law practice without restricting the types of clients she would take on. While I kept the practice small, I didn’t limit it to women’s issues, but rather problems encountered by a small beach town. High profile cases would come calling, but Hermosa Beach would be where Josie’s heart resided.
Josie Bates became more complex with each draft of Hostile Witness. Through Silent Witness and Privileged Witness her history took on a life of its own and affected every decision Josie made throughout those books. The new Josie affected the way I plotted the books, the dialogue, the action sequences.
Readers told me that Josie felt real to them, that they admired her, that they would know her if they met on the street. This reaction was a far cry from what would have happened if someone had published the first cardboard cutout Josie. The extra work meant a character that readers remembered, a goal every writer strives for.
So if you find that your story feels lifeless, one-dimensional or without options, it could be that you have more work to do on your character’s “life.” Don’t be shy. Dig deep. It is only with memories and experiences to draw on that our characters can act and react to the situations we create in our plots.
Change is a good thing. Layer their history. Acknowledge every detail and understand how it affects your characters. Let them breathe on their own.
Giving birth is never easy, but in the end it’s worth every ache and pain
Read Rebecca Forster's excerpt from Silent Witness.
© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049
All Rights Reserved. Copying in any way strictly forbidden.
Our Disclaimer Is Based Upon McIntyre's First Law:
"Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."