From the moment I joined my writers group, I was told to know my characters as well as I know myself, not to mention your setting so you can ground your readers in the scenes. As writers, we’re to know what makes our characters tick, dig into their past to know why they think and act the way they do so we’ll know where they’re going and why they want to get there. Having just returned from a trip I’ve taken numerous times, I found the perfect example of this writing rule. Or rather, my husband made me aware of it.
We were halfway home and trying to get through a big city with rain pouring down by the truckload. I pointed and told my husband he’d need to ease his way to the left lane because we’d have to exit soon from the freeway we were on. Sure enough, within a couple miles, we made our exit. My husband glanced at me with raised brows. Several hours later, we came to another large city. No rain this time but he was cruising along in the left lane. I told him that in a few miles he’d have to move to one of the two right lanes because we had an exit coming up. My husband looked skeptical but did as I’d asked. Not much later, he saw the sign announcing our exit. He gave me another raised-brow look and said, “Man Nell, you know these roads like the back of your hand.”
I’d spent a couple hours pondering what I would write about for this blog, and the moment my husband said that, I knew. This was such a wonderful illustration of how well we should know our characters and settings…just like the back of our hand. While we were on our vacation, I took one day to research an area for one of my books. I wanted to see what my character would see, feel what she’d feel the first time she drove the roads. The story came alive in my mind as I almost got lost trying to follow a creek for miles. I climbed into my character’s skin and the excitement grew with each turn of the wheel.
Before you start writing your story, take the time to get to know your main characters, and even some of the secondary characters. Examine their back story. Travel through their lives over and over until you know them as well as you know yourself to the point where you’ll know what’s coming as you move forward. And if at all possible, go to the place where your story is set and get to know it well. Not only will your characters come to life for you, but you’ll be able to make them come to life for your readers as well.
Grace Bradley wishes all she touches would turn to gold. Instead, it tends to tarnish…that is, until she finds freedom on the Double K Ranch. Grace is fleeing from the man her father chose to be her husband. But once her heart is captured by her new employer’s best friend, and she finally understands the meaning of God’s sacrificial love, she relinquishes her independence to save her loved ones.
Cade Ramsey contemplates running for dear life from the accident-prone nuisance he brought to his hometown. The trouble that trails her seems to latch on to him at every turn. But when Grace manages to win his calloused heart, he chases her down, praying he can keep her from following through on a decision that could ruin their lives.
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