In the midst of working on the third book of my series, a book I’ve been writing for over a year, I started jotting down some scenes that wouldn’t leave me alone on another book I’ve been fantasizing about. Allowing myself to take a break from my novel and work on another project was an interesting experience. It provided an outlet for the kind of creativity that comes along when you first fall in love with a story, before you’ve been through a million rewrites, allowing the words to flow, while the inspiration is fresh in your mind. It also affirmed my desire to start a second series based on characters I developed for a shorter story I wrote two years ago as part of a holiday anthology. I’d hoped to publish that piece as a solo title at some point to kick off a new series, but as I continued working on my third novel, I never got around to it.
A few weeks ago, after getting all my new ideas down and an invigorating break from my WIP, I decided to dust off that novella and get it ready for publishing this holiday season. I thought I’d give it a brief run through to make sure there were no final edits I wanted to make before sending it out, into the world on its own.
Well two years is a long time in the world of writing.
I love the story and the characters, but drafting scenes for a full length follow up provided a few insights into the players that I realized should be included in this first story if the audience is going to buy in. What I found was each time I asked myself a question about one of the four characters I’m developing, I came up with more and more back story. Information that will drive the motives behind the characters actions that I wasn’t even aware of.
Basic structure of a romance: they meet, they fall in love, something drives them apart, they find their way back. HEA. Of course we hope to find some interesting plot twists for entertainment, but it’s really the characters we want to fall in love with.
What I hadn’t realized with the original story is how much these characters have going on in their pasts and present that shape the plot and story. Me oh my, over the last week I know more about these characters than I did when I wrote the holiday piece two years ago.
And so the rewrite begins.
This time the characters will be better developed, creating a foundation for the continuation of their story.
Character development is something that fascinates me, and it doesn’t come naturally. There are different ways to flesh out characters through worksheets, interviews, talking with other writers, serious internal soul searching… You name it, I’m trying it.
One of the best resources on writing is over on YouTube. Search out Ally Bishop at Upgrade Your Story and dive into the abyss of all things writing. Some of her most insightful discussions are on character development. Free resource people. So much good stuff.
What I’ve learned is writing is a craft and one of those things that just gets better with time and practice. It’s an art. You don’t become brilliant overnight. But you can get better and use what you learn to level up your writing, your art. Give the attention the characters and worlds you create they deserve. Your readers will thank you for it.
I was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and have a husband and two children. Music is an addiction. I can often be found in the car, singing along at the top of my lungs to whatever is playing. I work full time, and I split my spare time between family, reading, blogging, and writing. I’m a habitual quoter. Lines from films and TV shows constantly pop into my head—my kids are the only ones that really get it. I’m an only child, and so of course I married a man who is one of ten children. Other than English, I speak Spanish, Moroccan, and a little French. I love to travel, but don’t do enough of it. Reading has been a passion for most of my life, and I now love writing. I’m klutz, and in my own mind, I’m hilarious.
Find me at http://www.yoursweetandspicyromanceauthor.com/
Signup to join My Dream Team: http://eepurl.com/bjAzz1
Find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jsenhaji13
Find me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jsenhaji13