If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years by joining a writer’s group, going to workshops and conferences, is that every author does things differently. I also learned that no one way is the right way and authors should go about the writing process in whatever way they are comfortable.Let’s take heroes and heroines, for example. There are authors who struggle over their names. Does the name convey everything about the hero and heroine the author wants it to? I understand this. You wouldn’t want to name your heroine something sweet and delicate (like Pansy) if she is a Tomboy. Or maybe you want to just so you can show her true personality. Same goes for the hero.
What color eyes do they have? What color hair? Where did they grow up? Brothers and sisters or only child? Are the folks still alive or were they orphaned at an early age? What kind of clothes does she like to wear (and before you can answer this, you must know when your characters were born and if your novel is contemporary or historical)? Frilly and bedecked with bows and ribbons? Or sleek and professional?
I’ve known authors who use the Zodiac to help define their characters. I’ve known authors who interview their characters. Some authors create an entire storyboard, gathering pictures of what their characters look like and some authors….well, you get the picture. Each and every one of us is different and we use what works.
I must be incredibly lucky or incredibly stupid (the jury is still out on that one), but I don’t struggle nearly as much. My heroes and heroines start talking to me—usually out of the blue, scaring me to death, but I’ve gotten used to that over the years. Sometimes they tell me their names—and it usually fits them perfectly—sometimes not—while they’re telling me their history and why I need to write their story. Once I’ve become comfortable with the voices in my head (no, please don’t commit me….I’ve heard that other writers hear voices in their heads and they’re perfectly sane), I may catch a glimpse of them—alone or together—out of the corner of my eye and I can see what they look like because you know, they don’t tell me while they’re talking to me (although I did clearly see Hugh Jackman for Tristan in A Treasure Worth Keeping and Tom Selleck for Austin in Angel in the Moonlight).
So this is my method. Be it right or wrong, good or bad, it works for me.
Who is your favorite hero or heroine?
As always, happy reading!