Sunday, March 26, 2006

The joys of being a writer Pt2

After hours, days, heck, after weeks and sometimes months of serious drooling, sorry researching, for a Hero. That search for the perfect man. (I'm a single gal - I have the Girl Guide badge for this) - We are now into the second joy. The joy of finding a heroine.

Now, alright, so this search may not seem like as much fun as searching for a hero to cast. But it is. Bear with me here...

Because in many ways this little lady is more important than the hero. I can hear your gasp of outrage from my house but it's true! Remember, you are writing your story for your reader and in the very large part that reader is female. And although she has to love our hero, want him, appreciate him, (look at the man lying next to her at night in real life and nudge him harder when he burps or passes wind). She has to like the heroine even more. Because though she may fall in love with the hero, she has to like the heroine. Has to understand why this gorgeous man of ours fell for him...
And getting a woman to like another woman without ever meeting her can be a tough sell because women are always critical of other women, particularly if they're beautiful or rich or successful already...

Even looking at pictures while casting a heroine can be a test of whether or not we like her enough to tell her story. Remember how we talked about how the picture can ask us questions about the guy (in Pt1)??? It's the same thing here. If we have some woman thrusting her breasts out in the camera we may not immediately take to her. But if she has the look of someone we might know, see on the street, have as a relative... Well, we may emphathize more with her. If she is crying in the picture or has a determined tilt to her chin or a sparkle of mischief in her eyes she seems more human somehow, more real, like she might be a friend we know.

And that's were the real magic kicks in on this one...
We need to create a heroine that the reader wants to take the journey with. A heroine whose shoes she wants to walk in. And whatever conflicts she has or past problems that hold her emotions back from the guy we know is right for her, they need to be real and understandable. It's one heck of a challenge for any writer. To not only make her story believable and real, but to make her someone the reader would like to know, maybe even be for the the space of a couple of hundred odd pages.

So how do we accomplish that?

Well, the simple truth is we keep her real. We give her the same everyday problems and challenges that we all have; whether that's losing that extra five pounds we would love to, or fighting to do well in our work, struggling to balance our lives between work and family, or wading our way through a set of disastrous relationships. We make her think like we do, talk like we do, have the same hopes and fears that we do. But most of all we bequest to her the same hope that every woman has for love. Real, long lasting, toe-curling love. The fact that her path to that isn't always easy makes it all the more real to us. And therefore means we understand, and we cheer her on when it goes well and cry with her when it doesn't. Because we've all been there, haven't we?


It's a real joy to me when people say they love my heroines or that they understood them or how they felt and most of all when they say that they could see this woman as a close friend. It means I've got my casting right. It means I've done my job. I don't think a person can ask for much more than that really...

And for fun, or to get those creative juices flowing... You could try matching my potential heroines to my potential hero's??? Give them a story... go on. You know you want to! And you know I'm already thinking of a few....

1 comment:

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