Friday, March 16, 2012

Overcoming the Story Blues

I hate this.

Starting a new story is as conflicting as having a new baby with the older one crying for attention.  But worse:  my story offspring are not yet equally loved.  I have to force myself to ignore the older and nurture the new. 

There are a few good side effects.  I'm not obsessed with taking care of it. I sleep better.  I'm diligently reading, planning, writing--but find time to do other things.

It's a good thing our bodies take care of the first nine months of creating a baby.  If my mind had to develop a baby, I'd probably forget where I left it.

To shock me into a relationship with this story, I've put the first chapter up for critique. We'll see if readers stimulate any maternal instincts and if the story wants to breathe.  This is risky.  The story (The Legacy of Lucie Bosell) should be available March 28 on unless I come to my senses and pull it back to the womb.

Good idea?  Bad idea?  Death wish?

What do you know about the story blues?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wanda, the sidekick who nearly stole the show

When I was told several times that my main character's sidekick was stealing the show, I decided to make her the main character of the next story.  In the first one (The Girl on the Mountain) Wanda is 13, abused and homeless, but resilient, wise, and strong-willed.  In that story she's a contrast to the older, somewhat naive main character (May Rose), who gives her a home and is inspired by her.

I like starting a new project with a character I know so well.  But almost immediately I'm confronted by the problem of maturity and change.  The new story takes place fifteen years later, and rough little Wanda has become a rough grownup. 

As an adult, Wanda can continue to be independent and outspoken.  Those traits can help as well as hinder the accomplishment of her goals in the new story.  But she can't retain the reactions of a child, or she will be neither loved nor a good main character.  I'm also wondering if her ungrammatical speech will make her less acceptable as a grown-up main character.  People do tend to associate ungrammatical speech with ignorance--not an accurate association, but true of our prejudices.

So help me out.  What do you know of "rough" main characters, especially female ones?  Main characters with poor speech?  What makes them lovable?