Most writers would agree a part of ourselves goes into each book we create. Good critique partners are also crucial. True, we put a bit of ourselves into each character--even the villain. After all, each of us is the sum of all our experiences, both good and bad. Just as a method actor “becomes” the character he or she portrays, the writer becomes his or her character as each is written.
To me, this is what I call “method writing.” I hope it evokes deep emotional response from readers and pulls readers into the story. Helping me remain on track are my critique partners. When my sentences are convoluted, unclear, and when I’ve failed in some aspect, my critique partners (cp’s) hold me accountable.
My cp’s and I meet regularly. This serves two purposes: First, the pressure to complete a set number of pages by meeting time is there. Second, meeting with other writers is energizing. In a way, writing is contagious. ☺ I come home from each session enthused about making any suggested changes in my work in progress and continuing the project.
Perhaps cp’s are not necessary. Many multi-published authors have beta readers who simply read for general content and give a “drags here” or “best ever” verdict. Beta readers are excellent, but I like face-to-face critique sessions where we can brainstorm problems.
When I conceived the idea of a trilogy called Men of Stone Mountain, I also had an idea of three brothers and what each was like. Micah is the youngest, and he fought on the Union side in the Civil War, unlike his brothers. He’s tired of killing and vows never again to shoot anything but a critter attacking his cattle. Zach is the middle brother and the peacemaker who never loses his temper. Joel is the oldest, and used to giving orders. He’s the logical, rule keeper to whom everything is either right or wrong. These brothers are close-knit and loyal.
While the brothers share many similarities, the women I conceived for these three are very different. In BRAZOS BRIDE, Hope Montoya is formal and unable to show her emotions, taught by her parents that sentiment and displays of affection are unseemly. She has a hard time showing Micah her feelings.
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In HIGH STAKES BRIDE, Alice Price is a very gentle, kind woman who is prone to accidents. She needs to escape her stepbrothers, but trouble plagues her and she continually gets turned around and goes in circles until she meets Zach. When he comes up with a crazy idea, she agrees. I have to admit Alice is one of my favorite heroines. I also love the young boy Zach and Alice rescue, Seth, and his dog. Harry.
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Currently, I’m writing BLUEBONNET BRIDE, about Joel. Now we’ve not seen Joel’s point of view much, so we didn’t know that he has an internal humorous dialogue. That’s been fun. Since he’s now the sheriff who goes strictly by the rules, I gave him Rosalyn, a heroine who is escaping a death sentence. She managed to bring her daughter, Lucy, with her in her quest for a fresh start. I think I’ll have this book finished and published by the end of the year--early January at the latest. Time goes awry around the holidays, doesn’t it? My friend Nelda Liles from Plano TX gave me the background photo for BLUEBONNET BRIDE's cover and Hero planted a handsome cowboy as Joel in the bluebonnets.Hero has the cover ready and is waiting on me. Guess I’d better get busy, hadn’t I?
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