Know thy characters

Oh, the agony of the first chapter… make that first chapters (I’m not even going to go into the agony of the first line- because that’s a whole book in itself!)

The first three chapters are the foundations of the book, so I’d better know my guys before I get to the end of them. Sometimes I interview them and jot down notes. Sometimes I just jot down notes. But I always know why I’m writing about these people, who they are, where they’ve come from, and what has brought them to the ‘meet cute’ point.

And that first meeting isn’t always ‘cute. Sometimes it’s downright traumatic – like the time the heroine was a stowaway on a racing yacht and threatened the hero with a knife, thinking he was a pirate…but that’s another story. But there has to be something behind their paths colliding I can build on later on in the book.

She had the figure of a glamour model, the face of an angel—and she was threatening him with a knife.’

That first line isn’t enough. My H and h have problems to fix- and that includes both emotional and actual problems.  And it was up to me to make sure that the hurdles they had to negotiate became higher each time.

This leads on to the 5 P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

(known as the 6 P’s in my family, but I’ll leave you to add the extra P if you want 😉 )

Know your characters. What drives them? Maybe they appear so different it seems that they could never be a match. BUT Do they have the same goals in life, the same principles, the same standards and beliefs?  I am as different to Mr S as you can imagine. He’s sporty. I’m not. I’m a musician. He loves silence. (maybe I need to hone my musicianly technique 😜) He’s a businessman. I’m a dreamer etc etc etc. But right from the start, our goals, standards and beliefs were the same, so however unlikely other people thought our match, it worked for us.

Love your characters, and think long and hard about them; know them before you start your book. They can still surprise you along the way with secrets you didn’t know, but that’s the joy of writing. 🙂

Wishing you joy as you write, as well as the most wonderful weekend with those you love. Take time to be with them. Those characters you know so well will still be waiting for you to uncover their story on Monday morning.

With my love to all the readers and writers out there,
Susan xx

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