A FB convo sparked the idea for this post, for which I'm thankful, because I had no idea what to blog about today. Thanks, ladies!
(Jason Momoa as Mercy dream-casting)
Wait for the real thing. And I'm not talking about men - not real ones, anyway. I'm talking about characters. Characters like Mercy who made it possible for me to revive a story I loved, and to make it worth reviving.
For me, a novel always starts with the characters. If you sat me down and told me to come up with a story concept, to create a plot outline, I would be at a complete loss. In my mind, it's always the characters, their dynamic and relationships, and then the plot grows organically from them. Not for everyone, but it's the only way I can work successfully. I am unable to come up with a great story, and plug interesting characters in later. They must interest me first, and then I can create a story for them. And when I say create, I mean that they come to me in dreams and tell me through hint and suggestion about their pasts.
I know I've mentioned that Fearless existed in another form prior to the final novel version. It was very different, save for Ava and Maggie, and Carter - characters who were of my own creation and who I wanted desperately to give new life in an original way. But I loved my girls, and I knew that if I crammed them into a story with male characters I wasn't excited about, the story would be lackluster at best. So Ava and Mags (and sweet baby Carter) got to sit on a back shelf for a few years. To be honest, I had lost hope of bringing them back. I needed guys who were complex, challenging, at times hard to root for, who loved as hard as they fought, and your standard "alpha male" simply wouldn't do. Oh well, I thought. It was a nice idea, but it won't happen.
And then Mercy entered the picture.
His appearance in Keeping Bad Company was this odd little fluke, this character who was big and loud and cheerful in his ruthlessness. And he and Walsh - just cameo characters - became an obsession. And then I realized that this was what I'd been waiting for. Mercy was Ava's man. Hallelujah, at long last, he'd arrived. And the magic thing is that when it's right, it's sooo right, and the story begins to write itself. From Mercy and Walsh, it was a blast to flesh out the rest of the Lean Dogs. It was like meeting new friends.
So in the midst of this rambling, my WW message is this: Don't throw tricky ideas away. You might simply be waiting for the real thing, the right character to show up, and when he walks in, it's a wonderful thing.