I wondered for a while, what I should write about. It occurred to me I was struggling with the characters in my current WIP. So, I thought, my ideas about characters in a novel hopefully could be of interest to others, particularly anyone else, having the same fight with them!
Recently I’ve posted about how my novel, Resolutions, came about. I’ve talked about the locations I’ve used and even about how long it took me to write it- five years if you’re interested – really!
It occurred to me that the one thing I hadn’t really discussed is how I created my characters. To some extent characters can create their own personality and often take over the story. But, I think that tends to happen as you grow as a writer and are more confident about letting them take the reins. That hasn’t happened to me yet.
Initially, I will admit that all my characters were fairly two-dimensional. I made all the new author mistakes of describing them in detail and what they were wearing in the first couple of paragraphs. It was hardly ‘the hook’ to get the reader interested. I learned to ‘drip feed’ information about the characters’ appearances, personalities and their back stories, and not overload the reader. I learned to be more subtle.
It took me some time, to understand that the main point of any romance is the development of the main character or characters. The way the protagonist grows and develops throughout the story is the backbone of any story in this genre.
Character development, often known as the character ARC, centres around your main protagonist, usually the heroine in romance. So how do we define this ARC and how do we get the character to change?
At the start of a story, the character is usually flawed in some way. They will have suffered loss or trauma. They may have been mistreated emotionally if not actually physically. The character will probably have had their trust abused and feel they can never trust again. In short they are vulnerable and unhappy.
In Resolutions, the heroine Carly Mitchell, returns to the town where she believes everyone will hate her. She is anxious, worried and almost at the point of turning back. As the story develops we learn that Carly was controlled, even bullied by her former fiancé. She needed to gain self-esteem and belief in herself and to overcome the compulsion to run from her problems.
By the end of the story the reader wants them to have grown and developed into confident people, to have discovered they can trust, and most importantly that they can love someone, hopefully the hero!
Carly Mitchell returns to the small town of Yeardon in Yorkshire almost a year after running away on her wedding day. Now she wants to try to make amends with Steve, his family, and the townspeople who had prepared a huge party to celebrate her New Year’s Eve wedding.
She intends to stay only for a few days at the Resolution Hotel, owned by Steve’s parents. However, her plans change when Steve’s father is taken ill, and she feels obliged to step in and help with running the hotel. This also means having to deal with Steve’s antagonism since he has never forgiven her for humiliating him.
A further complication comes in the form of Ben Thornton, the local doctor, to whom Carly feels an immediate attraction. They enjoy getting to know each other and falling in love, until a famous model from Ben’s past arrives in the town, and stays at the hotel.
Steve attempts to get his revenge on Carly by driving a wedge between her and Ben, and by threatening to reveal what he knows about Ben’s troubled past unless Carly leaves town.
The resolution lies in Carly’s hands as she struggles between wanting to flee from the town again and wanting to stay with the man she has grown to love.
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ACs7gz
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ACrV0P
Belle turned with a smile. “What can I get you?”
Dismay made Carly’s heart lurch as she realised she would have to remove her scarf to ask for a drink.
She pulled it from around her neck and forced a smile. “Hi, I’d love a hot chocolate and a flapjack, please.”
Recognition flickered across Belle’s eyes and her smile faded. “Okay.” Belle turned her back and prepared the drink, putting it and the flapjack on the counter without speaking.
This was worse than Carly had expected. Her hand wouldn’t stop shaking. She fumbled as she took the coins out of her purse, and there was a clatter as the money dropped through her fingers onto the tiles and rolled away. Her neck burned and the heat rose into her cheeks as she scrabbled on the floor to pick the coins up.
With a sigh of relief, she placed them on the counter, and Belle took them without a smile or a thank you. Balancing the mug and plate, Carly turned around. All the customers seemed to have spread themselves out, taking up spaces with their coats and bags. Glances and whispers drifted in her direction.
With as much dignity as possible, she zigzagged her way around the bookshelves. In a gloomy and almost forgotten corner was an empty chair. Forcing herself to walk slowly towards it took determination, when every nerve inside her wanted to run to reach it, as if it was a safe haven. At least here was a seat hidden away from everyone. Closing her eyes, she forced herself to relax and calm down. Her heart continued to pound against her ribs.
Resolutions is Carol’s debut novel and is set in a location close to where she lives.
Writing has been her love since childhood. She started by making small comics for her dolls, progressed to training as a journalist for a short while. Once the family had grown up Carol settled down to writing and published short stories, poems and holiday articles.
In recent years she has become a judge in the short story section for the HysteriaUK competition and also for the RNA’s romance novel of the year.
Carol lives in Yorkshire, surrounded by some beautiful countryside, which is ideal for her other passion of walking, often with a dog called Sam. This lovely area is the location for her first novel, Resolutions.
You can find Carol here
Blog tour organised by Writer Marketing Services. Follow the entire week’s tour here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/carol-warham/