Saturday, May 20, 2023

Emotional Wounds for your Protagonists By Connie Vines RR, #Round Robin, #Writing Tips, #Character Development

Emotional Wounds for Your Protagonists - And how to help them learn to cope/accept

How Do You Discover Your Character's Wound?

When I begin plotting a novel, I have a clear idea of my main characters' likes/dislikes, physical descriptions, and sense of time and place.
However, the motivation is in Blurb form when I begin writing.

I believe a character's subconscious motivation (emotional wounds) falls into these categories: 

Traumatic Events. These are the ones that most readily come to mind because of their dramatic nature. 

Misplaced Trust and Betrayals.
Childhood Wounds. 
Injustice and Hardship. 

Crime and Victimization. 
Disabilities and Disfigurements. 
Failures and Mistakes.

My stories feature the first section on choices in romance novels. 
Crime and Victimization in romantic suspense/mysteries. While Failures and Mistakes are universal issues and would color everyone's reality.

How do my characters cope?

Of course, they struggle with this subconscious issue (as do we all). My characters must work through the emotional wound(s) before I type THE END.

This process is often painful for my characters, as well as myself. 

The blurb must give the reader a hint at the motivation and hint at the emotional wounds without 'telling all.'

With a dangerous reputation for taking chances and tempting fate, rugged cowboy Lynx Maddox had one goal in life--to win the coveted Silver Buckle rodeo championship. but when he sets eyes on lovely Rachel Scott, he becomes determined to capture her as well.

Rachel traveled the circuit with her famous rodeo rider dad until his fatal accident in the arena. Now, she wants nothing to do with that world--or the men who risk their lives for one brief moment of glory. But her attraction to Lynx becomes too powerful to deny...and his unexpected gentleness is too seductive to resist...

The blurb doesn't tell the reader the emotional wounds the characters are still working through.  

Research is the key. Even if you have personal experience, your experience is colored through your reality, not your character's.

Lynx has dealt with the recent death of his brother. Lynx is now the eldest son and is coming to terms with the new reality. 

Rachel's father was an alcoholic; her mother was emotionally distant. Her grandmother was the only stabilizing factor in her life.

The backstory is backstory. I do not paint the character's past with a heavy brush.
I simply drop in information during a conversation and internal thoughts. Just enough information to let the reader know there's more to be uncovered. And the reader expects to feel the emotions. After all, that is what romance is all about.

Interested in reading more of my blurbs? Or, perhaps, reading the on the provided links:


Or any of your favorite online vendors :-)

Thank you for your visit. 

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  1. 'Research is the key' a'nd isn't that the truth. I've done just as much research with my contemporary novels as with the historicals.

  2. I so agree that dumping all the back story is not the way to engage the reader, but knowing it and knowing the wounds our heroes and heroines carry around informs how they act and react so the bits of backstory the reader needs to know will come out. I like your suggestion of hinting at the wound in the blurb, too, when appropriate.

  3. Ah yes, the blurbs. I find these snippets harder to write than the novels! Anytime I have to be brief, I suffer agonies! LOL. But yes, you have to grab the interest of potential readers, and the blurbs need to offer enough of the struggles the characters endure, to get them to want to read more--and to find out how the character overcomes such difficulties. That gives readers hope they might be able to triumph over their own troubles also.


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