I said, "I'm just a vessel for my characters. They talk and I type."
They thought that was hilarious and still tease me about it. But it really is true. I struggle a lot until my characters take over. Sometimes they're very chatty, which is great. But often they have to have their words and thoughts dragged out of them.
I have all kinds of ways to convince my characters to talk. Sometimes I interview them. I don't ask them about their favorite color or first pet or their childhood unless it's important to my plot. Usually, I sit them down and start firing questions at them and don't let them leave until they've opened up. Questions like, what do you think about the heroine? Why are you resisting her? Why do you hate shrinks? What is it about medicine that first drew you to it? And the oft asked question especially of the heroes, Why are you being a jerk? Often, what comes out of the interview winds up in a scene. In fact, I think it always does. Not all of it, but the important part.
My hero in my current book--yes, I'm on deadline and in deadline dementia--is an emergency room doctor. He's also a horse whisperer. He refuses to say he's a horse whisperer, instead he merely 'has a knack with horses' or he simply 'soothes them and calms them down.' I knew there was a reason for his denial of something that's quite clear to everyone else, but he wouldn't tell me until yesterday. I would have appreciated knowing this earlier, but the dang characters won't be pushed. They'll talk when they're ready and they don't really care if I have a deadline.
Don't get me wrong. I really like it when the characters come alive for me. But why are they so stubborn about doing things in their own good time?
You can find out all about my horse whisperer/ER doc in the upcoming Love Me, Cowgirl, part of the 2016 Copper Mountain Rodeo series from Tule Publishing. It should be out some time this fall. This hero, Sean Gallagher, is the brother of another doctor in Marietta, Dr. Jack Gallagher from Sing Me Back Home. Sean's heroine, Honey Jordan, is a cowgirl who is a competitive barrel racer. I don't have the cover yet but I'll post it when I do.
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