Tuesday, March 31, 2015

BOY, DO MY CHARACTERS GUIDE ME - GINGER SIMPSON

Cover by Michelle Lee
Author's don't always have an ending in mind...especially when you don't plot. As a "pantser," (commonly known as writing by the seat of one's pants,) my characters drive the story and when it's over, it's over.  I'm often shocked at how my books end, but they always make sense...at least to me.

 In the case of one, I received some bad reviews because there wasn't an obvious HEA.  If you're a history buff, you would most certainly realize that a woman and a half breed could not possibily find that happily ever after in the 1800s since neither would be accepted by their own race...and a half breed didn't actually belong to one.  Doesn't that make sense?  Obviously it didn't to some.
Cover by Michelle Lee

Sarah ended her story with the possibility of the love continuing in modern day, but that wasn't enough...so I combined the second story, Sarah's Passion,  with the first, Sarah's Heart, and hopefully created an ending that fulfilled what most readers want in Sarah's Heart and Passion.


Fiction still requires a degree of reality, especially when it comes to the heart.  Readers read to escape and find the fantasies missing from their own lives, and if the endings are less than satisfactory, you'll hear about it, trust me.  Funny thought, I felt like a traitor to Sarah when I changed her ending.  It was what I pictured for her, but not how she told the story.  Oh well...we must please our audience.

Cover by Michelle Lee
 Being a pantser is like having someone tell you a story.  I never know where it's headed until I get there.  I have faith in my characters, as Rita does, so much so that I rely on them to make the story interesting.   I've been pleased with each and every one of them.

 My primary job  is to add in the smells, tastes and emotions.   In other words...take the story I'm being TOLD and SHOW it to the reader.  If you want to be a good author, you have to do that.  Involving the reader in the story is critical.  They have to be able to step into the character's shoes and be part of the action.

How often have you read a book that makes your heart hurt?  You cry for the heroine/hero or inhale the smell of that apple pie baking in the oven?  Those traits are the sign of great writing.  You've become the lead character in the book and you "feel" what the story is about.  If I can't connect with the characters or don't get a sense of inclusion, I usually don't finish the book.  Too much back story or description can make the reader think, "who cares?" and you don't want that to happen.

I just had to add my two cents worth since I don't "plot."  Yesterday, Rita talked about letting your characters guide you, and boy do I.  In some ways being a "pantser" is a good thing, but it definitely limits you to how your story ends...and in most cases, word count.  My stories star's don't give a hoot about how long or short a book is.

If you'd like to judge for yourself about Sarah's story and the questionnable ending, Sarah's Heart, Sarah's Passion, and Sarah's Heart and Passion are all available on my amazon page.  I'd love to know what you think.

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