As a romance author, one of the key skills I’ve had to develop and hone over the years is writing good characters. And honestly, this is one of the most fun parts of the job for me. I love delving into the psyche of each character. Trying to figure out what and why and how they would do things. Quite often I close my eyes and picture the scenes as I’m writing them, and in doing so, I manage to “become” these characters. And yeah, sometimes that’s a little mind boggling because it can make me feel as if I have a split personality. But this is how they come to life for me.
As part of my process of being my characters, I recently had a very interesting experience with my latest release. My hero in On the Rocks is a horror writer. He’s been gone from his hometown of Turtle Island for years, and has just signed a major book contract, finally putting him on the horror-author map. However, he’s also just gone through an extremely rough period in his personal life, and the words have left him. So he shows up on Turtle Island . . . experiencing writer’s block . . . and with the pressure of a major contract looming over him. He must figure out how to write again! And lucky for him, his next door neighbor is just the right person to give him the inspiration he needs.
This is where my interesting experience came in. Carter, my hero, is a very wounded guy. He’s hurt, angry, and the last thing he wants to do is think about or want women. Yet his neighbor, Ginger, is an old, school-age friend. Friends only. That’s all they ever were. However, he’s suddenly looking at her differently. One morning while he’s sitting in his room staring at the blank screen of his laptop—and watching for Ginger to come out her back door and head to the beach to take in the sunrise—he finally puts his fingers to the keyboard and simply lets himself type. This happens while he’s watching Ginger, and he pretty much gives no thought to what he’s typing. Only, I had to give thought to what he was typing. I had to get deep inside his head, into his subconscious, and write what would be in there wanting to come out, keeping in mind that he’s watching this woman he’s finding himself attracted to . . . and he’s very angry and mad at the whole world . . . and he is determined to write anything, even if what he writes has nothing to do with the book he’s supposed to be writing!
Now, I’m used to writing from a man’s point of view. That’s nothing new, and I always enjoy writing my male point-of-view scenes. But in this instance, I was writing MY scene—eyes closed and me being the man (Carter) who is in MY scene—while Carter was also in the head of HIS character. Kind of putting me two layers deep into characters, if that makes any sense. I was being a man . . . who was also being another person.
Talk about feeling like I had a split personality!
But the coolest thing happened. In this instance, as I’m Carter, who is anger at the world, and a little turned on, and frustrated, and just writing whatever will possibly come out, I truly felt like I was a man for the first time. This is hard to explain, but think about it this way. As a female romance author, yes, I get in the head of my male characters all the time. But at the same time, I’m still a female writing for a typically female reader. Therefore, my thoughts and the words on the page aren’t quite as “raw” (or masculine) as a man’s might be who is writing for a more male-oriented audience. Does that make any sense?
Basically, I got to be an angry man not caring about what others would think of the words coming out, or what they would feel, or if they would be offended (or if they’d want to throw the book across the room! LOL). And that was really cool. Because by being that person, my thoughts and my words changed just slightly, were just a bit less “romancy,” and what came out in that scene was one of the most fun and super-hot sex scenes that I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing!
Of course, it was a make-believe sex scene. Because it was just a scene that Carter wrote, and neither of MY characters were having sex. LOL. Confusing, I know. But trust me. I know I’ve talked in circles here today, but it was really fantastic experience for me, and it was super fun to write!
And now I want to write a book in first-person from a man’s point of few. I think that would be a pretty darned awesome experience, too!
So . . . did I lose everyone? I’ll tell you what. If you made it this far, tell me if any of that made sense to you or not, and I’ll put your name in the hat for a $10 Amazon eCard.
And thanks, Angela, for letting me show up and ramble about my uber-cool experience today!
by Kim Law
Released: January 12th 2016
Series: Turtle Island #3
Published by Montlake Romance
Sassy tomboy Ginger Atkinson would rather be captaining a deep-sea fishing boat than baking pies, yet she still wishes she had a man to bake for. Sure, the pretty redhead is happy running her late father’s Turtle Island ferry business, but everyone in the world is finding love except her. Stuck on the wrong side of thirty, she’s trying to accept singlehood by building a dream home—for one.
In high school, Carter Ridley loved to sneak off with his good friend Ginger to watch the sun rise over the ocean. But after graduation, his path took a different route. One that, unlike Ginger’s, did get him the spouse and house of his dreams. At least, until a scandal shattered everything.
Running from his heartbreak, Carter returns to Turtle Island, where he discovers that Ginger is all grown up. His teenage friend has become the woman he’s always wanted. But will Carter’s pain scare him away from a chance at happiness? Or can he be the loving partner Ginger’s been looking for?
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