Saturday, June 18, 2011
The Writing Desk: How do you choose your characters?
Writing a book is like taking a journey. In fact it is like being in a relationship. You have your good days and your bad days. I’ve been having bad days, not for lack of material mind you, but thanks to my carpal tunnel. I’m learning that my health comes first and so I’ve had more time away from writing and more time trying to slowly rehabilitate my wrist. It is about finding balance which I am happy to say I am learning to do with each passing day.
When I decided to write an Austenesque novel I really thought about what spoke to me and I looked at the market. Everything is about Elizabeth and Darcy and while I love them it is possible to have too much of a good thing. I found myself looking for different offerings and fresh takes on a classic. I started picking up Austenesque books about minor characters and what little I can find of Northanger Abbey sequels. It’s a small buffet of books with minor characters or focusing on other Austen novels, but they are there if you have the time to dig them out.
So, what spoke to me? Colonel Fitzwilliam did. I love a man in uniform and he was so little mentioned, but we know he and Darcy are close; I wanted to know about his story. There are no books focusing solely on Colonel Fitzwilliam. Karen Wasylowski’s Darcy and Fitzwilliam (which I thought was fantastic) is as close as I have found, Usually Colonel Fitzwilliam has a supporting role. I however, felt Colonel Fitzwilliam deserved to be the Hero of his own story.
That’s what I am doing. He spoke to me.
My approach however is not a light hearted one. My work has Gothic undertones and the purpose of basing the situations or feelings my characters have in sharp reality. Will my novel be loved by all? Most certainly not, but I hope it does offer what many Janeites may be looking for and that is a book just for Colonel Fitzwilliam. Most importantly I hope to offer Janeites a good, clean romance, which they can relate too. We all want our hero and I hope my interpretation of Colonel Fitzwilliam will elevate his status from minor character to hero.
Finally, I hope my heroine is welcomed as I have become a bit partial to her. Colonel Fitzwilliam has met his match and he will be the better for it. I am nervous and excited as each day of progress brings me closer to my publishing date. I will survive! I can do it! Yippie!
My question to authors and writers is this: What made you decide to write about the characters in your story?