When we three started this collaboration to write, and publish, our novels, we had what we thought were pretty well developed characters and plots…silly to think so, as it turned out. At least for me.
To be sure, K. R. Brorman’s and S. A. Young’s characters have matured since those innocent times, but they haven’t changed radically or fundamentally (in my humble opinion, they may disagree) – while mine have changed a great deal. My male main character (MMC) is a totally different person. This one is the real deal. My female main character (FMC) is far more developed than she ever was before.
What drove this? It remains to be seen if anyone else does, but I really do love my main plot. What didn’t fit was how my FMC and MMC integrated into it, or not as it happened. For that matter, as we’ve gotten more deeply into this project, I have had to develop them in such a way that they integrate into both of the other novels, as well – in a way that makes sense.
So I backed away from the process and thought about who they really are, where they come from, what drives them, why do I care about them – why would you? I wrote their biographies – long, detailed biographies. I consulted with an expert or two about the military background of my MMC. It has to be right, even if none of that material makes it into a novel. Some of it will, I hope – he’s an amazing guy.
After I finished with my two protagonists, I wrote bios for my secondary characters as well. I’ve worked on environmental factors for everyone – started an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of it all. That may seem anal to some of you….
We three have talked endlessly about our characters – protagonists and our Big Bads. We’ve discussed what we need to show readers to make them care about these people and to show why these characters care about each other. That last bit is very important. The premise of our book series is based on the three FMCs, their flawed but heroic selves, their love for each other that makes them better together than they are individually.
K.R. and S.A. have both written biographies for their people also. It helps us to stay the course, and if one of us starts to stray into implausible territory with our characters, the others are ready, willing and able to say, “Whoa. Would she really do that? Would he say that?” It helps.
I love Candace and Mike and I hope I’ll do them justice throughout this series of novels. It helps that I know them so well. Or it may be more accurate to say that they know me that well. They won’t let me go off course.
PS – I have a Pinterest board with inspirational pics of actors who inspire my vision of my characters. If you’re interested, this is the link.