My characters become fully rounded personalities the longer I am with them and this gives me a sense of their emotional reactions to any particular situation. To enable me to write without stumbling on ‘what if’s’ or “would they?’ questions, I allow the story to flow and build during the initial draft. Later with editing, revisions and subsequent drafts, I refine the narrative with a deeper knowledge of my protagonist, antagonist and their supporting cast.
I find that once I ‘chose’ a story, the characters develop in my mind and abide by the genre rules I am writing within. With several genres under my belt, including romance, children’s and speculative fiction, this ability is worth its weight in gold.
For example, my two current work in progress projects are polar opposites. One is a western romance (Willow Tree Tears) centering on the story of a female barrel racer and the two men vying for her love. The other (The Giving Thief) is a suspense/thriller with a protagonist who’s mental and physical characteristics change dramatically due to his circumstances. With the barrel racer, I have an independent young woman, who fights against guilty feelings as an only child and the fear of another heartbreak. I tried to adapt and write to the ‘romance’ format but found that following the formula seriously stalled my writing and so it was abandoned with relief. My protagonist’s name changed several times during the first draft as I was unhappy with the ‘image’ they seemed to portray. Once I had her Christian name, Madison, I also had her nickname for close family and friends, Maddy. Once that was settled I looked at surnames and the names of her love interests. One is a high school friend and protector, Colton (shortened to Colt) and the other a suave Italian, Lucio. There was an element of research for Madison as I needed to know the rules of barrel racing and I was lucky to find assistance from a champion barrel racer locally.
The thriller narrative I am working on grew from three real news stories I merged into one story. My protagonist begins as a bullied youth but develops into confidant, survivalist young man. The tone of the narrative is dark and disturbing but hopefully redeeming in the end (or not! Time will tell).
I hope this glimpse into my inner writing method gives you a better understanding into my work. However, I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have either through the comments on this blog or through my own website.
You can find me at www.mandyevebarnett.com. Twitter @mandyevebarnett. Facebook mandyevebarnett.com
Most of my books are available at www.dreamwritepublishing.com And my ebook through, The Rython Kingdom through Smashwords and Amazon.
Thank you Andi for the opportunity to share some of my innermost workings!