Headstrong Characters

posted in: Uncategorized | 24

http://flowerona.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Wildabout-Heals-Flower-Arranging-Workshop-Flowerona-2.jpgSometime during the 1990s, long before I ever considered writing fiction, I read an article by Diana Gabaldon in which she stated that Claire, the heroine of her Outlander series, took over the story and started telling it herself. At the time, it sounded a bit crazy to me, but now I understand what she meant.

The heroine in my upcoming debut release did the same thing to me. The first scene I wrote took place at a ball in Regency London, but instead of worrying about her dress or whether anyone would dance with her, she kept trying to inconspicuously rearrange the flower arrangements. This came as a huge surprise to me, because though I love flowers, I am hopeless at arranging them. So off to the internet I went to find out how to arrange flowers.

2013-02-13_004The site that helped me the most with this was Flowerona.com, a UK based blog that has several helpful articles about how to create flower arrangements, not to mention multitudes of gorgeous pictures of flowers. One of the most helpful blogs for a neophyte like me was one that showed how to make the most of supermarket bouquets.

As often happens when I research, I spent many, many hours studying the subject, while very little of the information made it into the book. The important thing, though, was that I gained a better understanding of how my heroine looks at a flower arrangement and why she feels compelled to try to improve them.

My hero ended up being nearly as difficult. He insisted on making up his own words. But that’s a topic for another day.

Follow Victoria Vane:

Romance Novelist

VICTORIA VANE is an award-winning author of smart and sexy romance with works ranging from wild comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Her books have received more than twenty awards and nominations to include the 2014 RONE Award for Treacherous Temptations and Library Journal Best E-Book romance of 2012 for The Devil DeVere series. She lives the beautiful upstate of South Carolina with her husband, two sons, a little black dog, and an Arabian horse.

24 Responses

  1. Sandra Owens

    Ally, what would we do without the internet? Spend hours in a library, I guess. I love that your heroine surprised you like that. It’s always great when that happens.

    • allybroadfield

      Sandra, I used to be a children’s librarian, so I do love the library, but I think that would be an even bigger time suck than the internet. I do love when my characters surprise me! Thanks for coming by today!

  2. Harliqueen

    It’s great when characters really come to life and start leading you through the story πŸ˜€

    Research always take a lot of time and though 90% of it never goes into the book, I think I write more confidently because I have an understanding of the subject and that definitely improves the writing πŸ™‚

    • allybroadfield

      Yes, that’s exactly it. The research is worth all of the time because understanding the subject it helps me understand my characters and their motivations. Thanks for stopping in!

    • allybroadfield

      Holly, I’m still pretty hopeless with flowers, but it involves floral foam and wires. The second set of pictures in the post is from the supermarket post. Thanks for coming by!

  3. ellaquinnauthor

    How funny, but I know exactly what you mean. I have very little control over my characters. In book #5, Wivenly decided to do something stupid. I told him not to. He did it anyway, and got kneed for his trouble. Tweeted and shared on FB.

    • allybroadfield

      Oh my. Poor Wivenly. But you did warn him. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has characters who don’t listen. Thanks for stopping by, Ella!

  4. Margaret Taylor

    Oh this happens to me on a “bookly” basis! And to be honest, I’ve been writing for a very, long, long, *long* time, so I truthfully gave up trying to argue with them about it. And if you stay at this long enough, you will too…someday… πŸ™‚ Though, I will say this: sometimes, arguing with them – or having a fan argue with them, as happened with me not too long ago – can be the very best part about what we do! The moment that happens, you know you’re doing the “job” well…

    • allybroadfield

      LOL, Margaret. Yes, I’ve discovered that. The characters in the books I’ve written since this one all do the same thing. I will put my characters on notice that they should expect to be argued with, and not just by me. Thanks for coming by!

  5. Barbara Monajem

    LOL. Characters really do have minds of their own, don’t they? One of my secondary characters made such a nuisance of himself that I had to promise him his own story so he would stop trying to take over the one I was working on.

    • allybroadfield

      LOL, Barbara. My secondary character is very polite, but firm, and she’s getting her own story next. Thanks for coming by!

  6. Beppie Harrison

    It is peculiar when you find yourself writing something you never intentionally meant to write. It happens to me all the time. Sometimes it’s a comment a character makes that sends me off in a new direction, and when it happens I am often impressed with what a good idea that was–as if it has nothing to do with me.

    • allybroadfield

      So true, Beppie. Sometimes I read something I wrote the previous day and wonder who wrote it. Especially if it was a brilliant idea. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for commenting!

  7. B.J. Scott

    Thanks for sharing. Love when character’s personality develop and we are sometimes surprised by the outcome πŸ˜‰

    • allybroadfield

      B.J., my characters surprise me all the time, but I’ve gotten used to it. Thanks for coming by!

  8. Lani

    Oh my gosh! My characters are always bossing me around. My WIP is a time-travel, and my heroine I had ALL figured out. Ha! She’s led me around by my nose almost. She’s changed careers, motivations, even her basic characteristics. Oh, she’s a toughie, but I hope the book is that much better for it!

    • allybroadfield

      Oh my, Lani. My heroine in this book wasn’t that difficult, but I do wish my characters would choose hobbies that I have some knowledge of. πŸ™‚

  9. ginaconkle2013

    Love it Ally! So true about the characters telling you things about themselves. That’s the best when that happens, and I’m sure you’re enjoying more beautiful flower arrangements at home too. Looking forward to your book.

    • allybroadfield

      Thanks so much for coming by, Gina. My flower arrangements are a bit better at home now, but I won’t be posting any pictures! πŸ˜‰

  10. Barbara Bettis

    Really enjoyed the post. I know just enough about flower arranging to realize I don’t always have a good ‘eye’ although I try. But I certainly know what you mean about researching for hours and hours with little actually making it in the book–but it helps us feel comfortable in our story. Tweeted/shared

    • allybroadfield

      Thanks for coming by and for sharing, Barb! I think my biggest problem with the flower arranging is that I don’t have a good eye. But I’ll keep trying.

  11. Wendy Vella

    This happens to me all the time too, and I have to say flower arranging has never been my strong point. I have a mother like your heroine, who comes into my house and rearranges my flowers.

    • allybroadfield

      My mom was as hopeless as I am at arranging flowers. I think I inherited my lack of talent from both sides. Thanks for coming by, Wendy!