Please give a warm welcome to romance author, Liv Rancourt!
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First, Crystal, I’d like to thank you for giving me the chance to post on your blog. It looks like you’ve got an awesome community here. Given the title of your page, I thought a post about character development through cocktails would be in order…
Quick, name James Bond’s favorite drink.
That would be a martini – shaken, not stirred. Now, how many of you ordered your first Cosmo because Carrie Bradshaw did it first?
Yeah, me too. I’m not sure Sex And The City would have been the same if the girls had been beer drinkers. The point is, while not all fave cocktails because part of the public consciousness, when you’re working up a character you need to get down to the nitty gritty. That means knowing the brand of vodka your character favors, or whether they prefer merlot to chardonnay.
Character development is the neglected stepchild in the plotter vs pantser debate. Some people need to work out the road map before they start writing, while others close their eyes and start in. Similarly, some get to know their characters as they write about them, while others of us develop detailed descriptions in the early stages of a project. Not all of those early details end up in the final piece, but knowing who I’m dealing with guides me through the process of writing about them.
I searched on-line for character description templates, then munged a couple together to create the tool I use. It’s pretty detailed, with prompts to describe what the character’s bedroom looks like and what colors they like to wear. I like to know what scares them and what pisses them off, along with what kind of car they drive and where they went to college. The more concrete I am – describing not just their eye color but whether they blink a lot when they’re nervous and how their eyes almost close when they laugh real hard – the more lively the character will be on the page.
Recently I read a blog post where my friend Cora says there’s no such thing as writer’s block. “It’s really that you don’t know your character(s) well enough.” I totally agree with her. When I’m stuck, I let the characters respond to the situation at hand. They show me what happens next, though it might be different from where I thought we were headed.
And if that means they want to try a new microbrew or a cocktail made with vanilla vodka, so be it.
So what about you, lovely readers? How much prep work do you do before starting to write? Do you prefer merlot or chardonnay?
Liv is giving away an eBook of Forever and Evere, Amen to two readers today! To enter, just leave a comment on this post answering her question and then fill out the rafflecopter below. Good luck!
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