Although I don’t get much time to write these days, the muse has definitely been ruminating on two of my WIPs – moving the scenes along in my head, scripting dialogue, preparing me for the sweet moment when my fingers can touch the keys for more than five consecutive minutes to create a complete thought! To prepare for this, I’ve gone back and picked up one of my favorite writing tools: The Romance Writer’s Handbook by Rebecca Vinyard.
This book is fantastic. It tackles all aspects of writing from the birth of an idea to finding an agent! I love that it uses specific examples from movies and other books to bring the points home. You start to clearly see what works and what doesn’t. For instance, my futuristic romance is plot heavy and for a character driven writer like myself, I often feel like I’ve written myself into a corner, having to go back and remind myself of the villain’s motives, the hero’s growth and the heroine’s choices. There are also a lot of side characters because I’ve created a co-dependent star system that serve as a major backdrop to the action. The chapter on plotting was invaluable for keeping my thoughts in order. It broke down each stage of the novel and how it should progress. I was able to look at the actions objectively and see the slow progression toward completion. It all made sense! I was on the right track! *wipes forehead* Thank goodness!
It also has some great chapters on hero and heroine stereotypes. I was suprised to find that I’ve actually written several different types of heroes (although I prefer to read alpha males in other people’s novels). Take Charles Witmore and Chase Branton as examples. They’re the heroes of Cinematic Royalty and Dark Hollywood Nights. Charles is definitely a ‘best friend’ hero, more of a beta man: kind, decent and responsible; while Chase is what’s considered a ‘swashbuckler’: the action hero, a man on the go who is physical, daring and mercurial. I’ve also written a ‘lost soul’ character in my fantasy series, tortured and secretive, and a ‘chief’ character in my futuristic, the typical alpha male. I’ve mixed a ‘bad boy’ rebel with a ‘charmer’ to create a suave side kick who’s getting his own storyline. *_* I never realized what a wide variety of males littered the corners of my mind! Ha ha.
My heroines tend to be a bit more similar. Most of them are bookish ‘librarian’ types: conscientious, orderly and bright. But I have a few who’ve broken the mold. I think Paige Jacobs from Surfacing starts as a ‘librarian’ type and becomes a ‘crusader’: tenacious and headstrong, determined to reach her goal at all costs. While Lexi Grant is more of a ‘spunky kid’ the girl who’s spirited and loyal with that touch of moxie that makes her fun to read. I’ve recently written my first truly genuine ‘nurturer’ as well, a great listener, serene, and optimistic. She’s a side character in my fantasy series now but when she becomes the heroine of her own novel, she’s going to shine light a bright light.
This was so much fun! It really forced me to evaluate my novels and characters and how they interact. Sure they start as stereotypes, as bases, but when you breathe life into them, they walk and talk with such certainty it can be maddening.
So tell me, who are your heroes and heroines?