Under Their Skin. When Characters Become Real
By Kirsten Mortensen
I became a novelist so, so slowly!
It’s not that I didn’t want to devote myself to fiction. I did. I’ve wanted to spin stories for peoples’ enjoyment ever since I was about five years old.
But when I became an adult, I was deeply confused about how to go about it. Throughout my 20s and 30s, I started novels many times. But the process always felt forced. I understand, now, what I was doing wrong. I was working from my head, not my heart—not my imagination. But at the time, all I knew was that I felt lost, writing fiction. And when I read other authors saying things about how their characters would “come alive” or “take on lives of their own” I thought they were either telling white lies, or speaking figuratively.
That changed when someone I respected very much said something to me that, on the surface, was very hard. Cruel, even.
I was talking about how much I wished I could make a living as a novelist, and he looked at me and said: “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe really want to write a novel.”
It sounds mean, doesn’t it? It sounds like he was snatching my most precious dream, throwing it down onto the pavement and crushing it with his foot.
But that’s not what he was doing—and I knew it, even as he spoke.
He was challenging me to follow through on my so-called dream. He was challenging me to do more than just start a novel—he was challenging me to finish one.
So I did.
I’ve long since thrown that manuscript away—it was a typical first novel, so full of mistakes that newbie writers make!
But even though it wasn’t publishable, it served its purpose. It gave me the experience of practicing writing novels.
And the more I practice, the better I get.
And then, during novel #3, it happened.
My characters came alive.
Because it’s true. It really happens.
They begin to assert themselves. They do things you don’t expect. They stop you from forcing them into decisions that don’t suit them.
When I wrote that first novel, my characters were like puppets. I fashioned them, using words. I gave them physical characteristics. I picked out their clothes. I came up with plot twists and wrote how my characters reacted to them.
Today, when I write, my characters are no longer puppets. They’re more like entities you meet in dreams—demigods of my imagination. They awe me, they surprise me. I’m no longer their master—I’m more an observer, doing my best to transcribe what they see, think, feel, and do.
I’d be the last person to call myself a “great” writer. Ha. In my dreams.
But I do think that in my latest novel, Dark Chemistry, is the best I’ve written so far—and one major reason for that is that as I wrote it, my characters came alive. And judging on how readers are reacting to the novel, the characters seem alive to them!
If you’re a writer, have you noticed this happening while you write?
As a reader, do you notice when characters in novels seem real to you?
A woman's worst nightmare
Drugged by something...that makes her think she's fallen in love.All Haley Dubose has ever known is beaches and malls, clubs and cocktail dresses.
But now her father is dead.
And if she wants to inherit her father's fortune, she has to leave sunny Southern California
for a backwater little town near Syracuse, New York. She has to run RMB, the multimillion dollar
chemical company her father founded. And she has to run it well.
Keep RMB on track, and she'll be rich. Grow it, and she'll be even richer. But mess it up, and her inheritance will shrink away before she gets a chance to spend a dime.
Donavon Todde is her true love. But is it too late?He's RMB's head of sales – and the more Donavon sees of Haley, the more he's smitten.
Sure, she comes across at first as naïve and superficial. But Donavon knew Haley's father. He can see the man's better qualities stirring to life in her eyes. And Donavon senses something else: Haley's father left her a legacy more important than money. He left her the chance to discover her true self.
Donavon has demons of his own.
He's reeling from a heartbreak that's taking far too long to heal. But he's captivated by this blond Californian, and not only because of her beauty. It's chemistry. They're right for each other. But has Donavon waited too long to woo this woman of his dreams? Because to his horror, his beautiful Haley falls under another spell. Gerad's spell.
A web of evil.Gerad Picket was second-in-command at RMB when Haley's father was alive. And with Haley on the scene, he's in charge of her training. But there are things about RMB that Gerad doesn't want Haley to know.
And he must control her. Any way he can.
Romantic suspense for your KindleWill Haley realize that her feelings are not her TRUE feelings?
Does Donavon have the strength left to fight for the woman he loves?
Will the two of them uncover Gerad's plot to use RMB pheromones to enslave the world?
And even if they do – can they stop it?