Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Guest Blogger Jane Graves
I met Jane Graves last summer at the RWA National Conference in Atlanta. She was a lot of fun (and she gave me a mood ring!), so I've been hounding her ever since to make an appearance on the Playground. Last month, she admitted to Texas hair over in the Sandbox, and now she's here to talk books and writing. Y'all give Jane a big Playground welcome!
Thanks so much for the invitation to come to the Writing Playground. What a fun place to play and learn a little at the same time!
I'd like to talk for a minute about the heroine of my book that's out this month, Hot Wheels and High Heels. Darcy McDaniel is a trophy wife, plain and simple. Now, here's an odd admission for an author to make. As the book opens, you're not going to give a damn about her. I mean, who wants to read about a woman who has all the good things life has to offer without lifting a finger to get them?
But...how about if I tell you that on page three, she discovers that her husband has taken every dime they have, maxed out their credit cards, sold their house, embezzled $300,000 from his employer, and skipped the country, leaving Darcy with little more than the clothes on her back, her Mercedes Roadster, and her neurotic Chihuahua? Does that sound a little more interesting?
I love to drag my characters to rock bottom, then watch them crawl out of the hole I've dug for them. Nowhere in real life is it permissible to kick a person when he's down, but as a fiction writer, it's part of my job description. Why? Because it's only through applying pressure that character is revealed.
Think about how a lot of wild animals behave. They won't attack unless you do what? Corner them. A lot of wild animals can appear quite tame. But if you apply pressure, their basic nature is revealed. People are no different.
Consider Hurricane Katrina. That was a perfect example of a pressure-filled situation that revealed the character of thousands of New Orleans residents, both good and bad. There were those who rescued other people, and there were those who looted and killed. But‑‑here's the key‑‑the day before Katrina hit, you might not have been able to tell the difference between the two.
I once heard an author say, "I'd never write about a character who isn't at the end of his rope." I think that's really good advice, which is why that's exactly where I put Darcy: at the end of her rope. She's forced to grow and change. And as she does, I hope you'll be cheering for her to find love and happiness, particularly when that love and happiness centers around a really great hero instead of her cute little sports car and her platinum AmEx!
Here's a video teaser for the book I hope you'll enjoy:
Also, you can check out this interactive Flash presentation created especially for Hot Wheels and High Heels. Just hit this link and start clicking You'll find all kinds of fun things!
So tell me. How do you beat your characters up? How do you drag them to rock bottom? How do you stir up conflict? Do you have fun with it, or is it hard for you to write? Personally, when I'm writing, I'm a cheerful little sadist. I never have more fun than when I'm making my characters suffer. Let me know what you think!
Jane will be in and out today to answer questions, plus there's a book up for grabs to one lucky commenter!
A note from PC: Nini and Lady Vampire! I have gifties with your name on them! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your shipping address and I'll get them in the mail!