So my new protagonist Merry Manning is coming along… a six foot three redhead with a wry sense of humor and a cleanliness obsession. She’s a blogger, traveler, and black sheep of one seriously uptight family. Great! Good fodder, fun to write.
Only, she’s not quite working.
Her past, her choices, her essential dilemma… not quite “there” yet. So, suddenly, I’m whipping the character carpet out from under her feet and telling her she’s a different person. Not entirely–she’s still a towering Valkyrie with issues to spare, only now I’ve given her gold medals and a badass career that’s just recently been ripped away, leaving her dealing with fresh wounds and challenges. I think it’ll be a really beneficial change. It’s just that now I don’t know her anymore. I’ve got to get acquainted with this surprising new young woman, find out what makes her tick. This is an honor, of course. Any time a new character drops out of the clouds and strides onto the stage of one of my novels, it’s exciting to get to know her. But I’ve got to say, now Merry is a lot further outside my own experience. This’ll be a “growth opportunity” (gah, I hate that cheesy phrase) for me as a writer. I can stretch myself to empathize with a foreign element. It’s fiction, after all, and what is fiction but a chance to inhabit somebody else’s world, and do things you’d never do yourself?
So, Merry… lay it on me. Teach me who you are now… and, woman, you better kick ass!