As many of you probably know, some writers refer to their book characters as the ‘voices in their head’. Many complain about being disturbed in the middle of the night. Nagged to wake-up enough to write down some tidbit of information or even whole conversations.
Often, in the light of day, those wonderous words do not seem as earth-shattering or as insightful. Often remaining a mere memo scratched out on a stray piece of paper on the nightstand. Judged ‘not good enough’ to end up on the printed page. All writers seem to have these epiphanies that we mourn when we read them by the light of day.
On the opposite side – because where there is a ying there is always a yang, we sometimes come up with wise and useful words everyone can learn from. I like to call them my Will Roger’s Moments (note the capitals) or for other writers, my Mark Twain Words of Wisdom. I re-read these over and over until I have them down perfectly. They may only be a few words within 50,000, but they are the ‘meat’ of the story. The reason it was written.
I can’t pick them out at the moment since they work within the story itself. Funny because of what it tells the reader about a certain character. Poignant due to what the reader has been shown about a character’s past. Momentous break-throughs in a character’s arc.
I believe a story is driven by the characters. That a writer may have an idea, but once the words begin to form on the page it will be the characters who finish each chapter. I use my voice to give them the freedom to say their truths – whatever they may be. I merely pray I can give them the stage they need to do so.
Veterinarian Henrietta Manville answered a call for a coroner more than once and this time Ranger Tanner would be her guide. She was attracted to the man – who wouldn’t be? But they both had a job to do and then never see one another again. Keep it business was her motto in life and it had kept her safe so far.
Henry peered up and met Tanner’s gaze and all sound disappeared, no more singing or laughter or piano notes. The brightly lit room faded, and there was only the two of them as they were drawn to one another by some unseen force, like a magnet until his lips covered hers and Henry had her first grown-up kiss.
It only lasted a moment, but when Tanner pulled back and stood straighter the light and noise and piano all returned in an unwanted roar, as if they were dropped into some kind of hole with all these other people.
Henry knew Tanner felt the same way. She was sure of it as she touched her lips in awe.
“Don’t worry, Henry, your make up is still perfect. I’m sorry. I should have waited to do that,” he apologized.
Staring shyly into his shirt, she said, “I really should make myself more available to the reverend. Lure him into trying something.”
Tanner’s hand tightened a little on her elbow, but then he agreed. “You’re right. I admit I can’t completely monopolize you or this whole night will be for naught. I’ll stay close. Just play with that chain around your neck if you need me, and I’ll be at your side before you know.”
Making his way to the bar, Tanner watched covertly as she made her way to the table the preacher occupied.
A voracious reader her whole life, author Susan Payne loves the written word. When reading more than fifty books per month wasn’t enough, she decided to allow her mind to take flight and write all the many stories that kept intruding in her life. She blended her love of history and her love of words to create over eighty stories. All historical and centering on a couple finding love and a happy ever after together.
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Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Payne
Great blog post. I agree with you–characters drive the story, and when you can listen to the voices in your head, it’s wonderful!
Yrs, I find characters never leave you completely alone. Best on your book!
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