Monday, August 8, 2011

A Woman Scorned

As you know, Borders is going out of business. Of course, I've been buying books in the writing reference section. I came across a really great one entitled, "Bullies, Bastards, and Bitches - How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction" by Jessica Page Morrell. I must say, what a great find! To top it off, Jessica is apparently a Portland, Oregon local resident, who teaches writing in the Pacific Northwest. Here is a link to her website. CLICK HERE I'm really hoping to attend one of her workshops in the future.

When I started reading the book, one early statement struck home with me, because it resonated the way I view my characters and stories.

"We don't read fiction to follow the lives of perfect people who float through blissful days. Nor do we read fiction to follow people in the midst of goodness, luck, success, and joy. Instead we read to wallow in a character's misery and struggles, to plunge into his or her emotional depths, to experience the doubts, worries, and pains." Jessica Page Morrell

Even though The Price of Innocence was my debut novel, I think I did a fair job on character development my first time around. Coffee Time Romance review stated, "The characters and scenery are vivid in their descriptions and examples. Readers are shown numerous aspects of the plot line, giving the book a depth few first novels achieve. Characters, both good and bad, are reflections of the times and readers get to see the root causes of the characters’ behavior, preventing them from being caricatures." I am very grateful for that comment, but something inside of me tells me I can do better and delve deeper into the personalities and mindsets of those in my story.

As I write about Duchess Jacquelyn Holland, I am truly being challenged by the personality I have given her. The old saying by William Congreve, "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned," is a quick portrait of Robert's wife. Crawling into her mind and writing about her feelings, hurts, and longings has been a very interesting journey. I'm right now at a critical part in Chapter 21 where I've taken her to the brink of her ability to cope. Where that takes her after this chapter is probably going to shock my readers immensely.

Of course, the challenge to develop characters on a deeper level is also challenging me to rethink Robert, Suzette, and Philippe. I feel like I truly glided over many of them in the first volume, even though I received words of encouragement otherwise. I can only say that each character is standing by my keyboard during this volume, pushing me to do better. Their voices are calling me to engage my readers to, "wallow in a character's misery and struggles, to plunge into his or her emotional depths, to experience the doubts, worries, and pains." I truly appreciate Jessica Morrell's words, which have confirmed my own goals as a writer.

As I end this post, I am reminded that many of you wait for that happy ending that I so terribly robbed you of in the first release. I can promise you that happiness will triumph, but the road will be somewhat treacherous on the way. A few close writing friends of mine accuse me of torturing my characters to bring them to an end. Perhaps I do, but it brings me such satisfaction to do so. Perhaps there is some deep psychological reason behind it all, but that's just me because of my own struggles in life that have made me who I am today--an author with a lo0se screw.

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