Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Romance Writers Weekly: Character Wrangling

Thanks for joining the Romance Writers' Weekly blog hop! Today we're talking about wrangling and developing characters, one of my favorite part of the writing process.

I hope you joined me from Victoria Barbour's page, and big huge thanks for this week’s questions from Eden Ashe!

1. How much free reign do you give your characters during a story?

I am a plotter, so I generally have a strong idea of what my characters are going to do, what they
need, and where they are going, but sometimes they surprise me. Sometimes minor parts of their story, which I only intended to include as backstory, turn out to be much more important. It's as if they need to work that problem out, even if I wasn't terribly bothered about at all. 

In my current work in progress, Reckless Wager, my hero, Detective Sergeant Benjamin Quinn wants to resolve his family issues, yet all I intended was to have him hunt Jack the Ripper. And fall in love with my heroine, Kate, of course! Ben's need to resolve matters with his family is now a bigger part of my story than I ever intended, but it's where he's led me, time and time again.

2. Have your characters ever done something so out of the blue that not only changed your story, but changed the tone and maybe even the genre you were originally going for? (Like your contemporary romance turned into a spicy paranormal)

I haven't had that happen yet, but I'd be open to it! I know that sometimes my characters lead me down rabbit holes I didn't expect to travel, but they usually stick firmly in their late Victorian world. :)

3. Do you have one character in your head that is sort of boss over all the rest? Or do you decide who to work on and when?

Ben is dominating a bit in Reckless Wager, I must admit. I started out thinking of this as chiefly the heroine's happy ending story, but Ben definitely wants his time on the page too. Kate is a secondary character from a previous novella, so she was a priority, but Ben is going to get equal time. 

In most cases, however, my characters allow me to the tell their story much as I had intended. It's actually the stories I haven't written yet, the characters that are just faint sketches in my mind, who are the loudest and most eager to have their stories told. And I can't wait to flesh out every single one of them. 

Now, join me at the fabulous Sarah Hegger's blog to find out how she answered the same questions!