Hello. My name is Elissa and I'm addicted to animated movies.
You know the ones that are meant for kids? The ones that other adults look at you like you're some kind of perve because you turn up to watch it without any kids. The ones that have the most catchy songs EVAH! and feature the voices of the Hollywood A-List celebs. The ones you come out of with a huge grin on your face and feel like everything is not so bad in the world and like if you started singing, everyone in the cinema and the shopping mall would start singing and dancing right along with you (well okay that last one was just a thought - I have never actually done that).
So I was reading through Maisey Yates' latest blog about Timing and thinking about when to reveal the backgrounds of my Hero and Heroine and such stuff and one thing that Maisey said that was the aha moment for me. Now please remember I'm paraphrasing here and you really should do yourself a favour and read ....well all of Maisey's posts actually because she's got a whole heap of solid gold insights for unpublished authors, BUT she said something like: when you reveal things is heavily dependent on the storyline and the characters.
And I started thinking (yes I know: dangerous but it has to be done every now and then) about just how important it is to really know your characters. It's the difference between the heroine that the reader feels emotionally invested in, even if they don't agree with some of her decisions/actions and the cardboard cut out that personifies all the worst romance tropes.
I never really understood it when writers would say things like "and then my characters took the story in a whole different direction". But I think that's when the writer is trying to force a character to a certain point in the story because they have the "story" mapped out and to get the heroine from A to D the writer has planned for her to do X, Y, Z. Unfortunately it may not be in the heroine's nature to actually do X, Y, Z - she might be more of a J, K, L sorta gal. You can't have a fiery, ballsy lady and then all of a sudden she's a simpering weakling unable to do more than sigh and giggle whenever the Hero is around. I know when my writing starts to become stilted and it gets more difficult to write, it's my intuition telling me I'm forcing my characters in a direction that's not true to them. True as in kosher - sincere - concordant - authentic.
And that got me thinking of the song True To Your Heart by 98 degrees. And that got me thinking about the movie Mulan (ah now you see how all this ties into the admission about the Disney films *winks*).
So I'm going to have another (in the long line of many) looks at my NV entry and make sure that especially as the story evolves into chapter two and the pivotal moment which (I think it was Shirley Jump suggested) should be at the end of chapter three, that my Hero and heroine are being true to their hearts.
And just to get you in the mood (because everyone's day can be made a little better with a bit of Stevie Wonder) take a listen: