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November 04, 2011


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I try to create heroes and heroines rather after the fashion of a sculptor.
Start with a perfect block of stone and chip away the bits that you don't want.

So for example, I usually envisage my heroine as physically beautiful, though she might fall out of a tree and become scarred or partially blinded. She will always be highly intelligent and scornful of men who cannot understand her.

Though life in my novel will make her more tolerant. She will seek a career path which is frowned on (historical) and somehow stumble on a man who singes her mind with raw electrical energy and who creates a path for her to progress along, both career-wise and romantically.

Hey! this is sounding a bit like my last plot profile.

Freud and Jung would have loved chatting to me *grin*

I actually try to mix the A => B plotting with some unpredictable tangents that arise during the writing. That allows your inner creativity to light fireworks and send rockets into the plot. (I have idiots letting of fireworks in the lane outside my house at the moment!)

I think I'm more or less agreeing with you Donna. :)

Donna Cummings

LOL, Q. Yes, I think we're more or less on the same page.

My characters tend to emerge in an organic fashion. I get a scene in my head, and see them acting and interacting in that particular moment, and then I start to brainstorm their story, and the personalities that would bring them to that point. It's fun, and ripe with possibilities, not to mention unpredictability.

I love that the fireworks inspired your comment. LOL Is this a Guy Fawkes celebration going on?


It seems like I never really have to think about how to scuff up my hero because he's usually someone who does the wrong things for the right reasons, which kind of naturally makes him imperfect. It's like eventually his perfectionism is what trips him up.

This is still probably going from A(fter) to B(efore) because he does start out in my imagination as the fantasy guy who fulfills my #1 rule: he's always 100% on the heroine's side. It's like, how can he not be perfect as long as he's following that rule?

But this trait is exactly what gets him into trouble. Perfect people don't like to explain themselves, so even if HE thinks he is doing the right thing, such as being protective, this might cause a misunderstanding from lack of communication. Then suddenly my heroine feels left out of a decision and has hurt feelings, and of course, the hero is left wondering where he went wrong. LOL

I love how flaws can evolve in the writing. I think this works this way more with the hero than the heroine though. My heroine usually has more flaws upfront. Sigh. LOL

Donna Cummings

Melissa, I love how the hero's perfectionism is the stumbling block. That's brilliant. Especially the part about not wanting to explain himself. :) I can see where he would be confused as all get out by the turmoil, because he sincerely believes he's doing right by everyone. LOL

And yes, having the hero 100% on the heroine's side is incredibly sexy. :)

I like how the flaws evolve too. It can be to fit the story, when you uncover other aspects of the characters' personalities, or when they've revealed something during a scene. (I think you've just inspired a future blog post for me!)

It's not a bad thing that the heroine has more flaws at the beginning. :) She just has more room to grow!


** Donna: I love that the fireworks inspired your comment. LOL Is this a Guy Fawkes celebration going on? **

Yes, Nov 5th is officially the night when Britain is ablaze with bonfires burning effigies of Guy Fawkes and people enjoy firework displays with jacket potatoes cooked in the bonfire embers.Children enjoy it most I think!

**Melissa: : he's always 100% on the heroine's side. It's like, how can he not be perfect as long as he's following that rule? **

Its not uncommon for the Hero to hate the heroine in the beginning. He then has to be convinced of her angelic qualities before he can worship her. I like your contrarian approach to imperfection! LOL

Donna Cummings

Q, you had me at jacket potatoes! That sounds so good right now. LOL The one time I got to visit England, I had to leave a couple of days before the Guy Fawkes celebrations. I'm sorry I missed it.

We do like to celebrate our contrarian qualities here, so Melissa's approach works well, doesn't it? LOL


**Q: It's not uncommon for the Hero to hate the heroine in the beginning.**

What? This happens? LOL Okay, I guess this has worked to create a romantic conflict a time or two. :)

It's interesting, but I've noticed that I often have different tastes in my reading preferences than what I write. Some of my favorite novels have the hero 100% certain in the "wrongness" of the heroine. Wrong for HIM that is. He is wrong, of course. LOL I do enjoy his journey figuring this out. :)

But to write this type of conflict? So far my heroes seem to be stricken with love at first sight, which is a different dilemma when it's someone he can't have. She's still "wrong" but I'd rather the hero fight circumstances than fight the heroine. It's like Donna says, "having the hero 100% on the heroine's side is sexy." :)

But too much niceness usually blows up into a big fight anyway so, so much for conflict avoidance. LOL I have one story waiting in the wings with a heroine who hates the hero in the beginning, so that will be a switch. He can take it. LOL

Donna Cummings

Melissa, that's an interesting point about having different tastes in your reading preferences vs. what you write. I think that's true for me too. I enjoy romantic suspense, but don't think I would ever write it -- okay, I may try it once, to see if I could do it -- but sometimes the escape for me IS reading what I wouldn't write, or can't write.

I'm loving the discussion on this topic. :) You and Q have given me lots to think about!


The one and only Danielle Steel book I've read was like this, too. I haven't fully decided if I like these stiroes enough to be must-reads, but they're worth trying out, I think. *grin* I especially like Bertrice Small's stiroes set in the seraglios. But I like that setting anyway. Which reminds me of another erotica fairy tale adaptation I've been meaning to get back to

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