Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Are all Writers Crazy? by Leann Harris

Yes, is the answer to the question.  How would you classify a group of people who talk to imaginary people and tell you what they are doing?  Well, that what I first thought after my first major writer's conference.  The information was great, but I ran into writers who said their characters would talk to them or do this or that.  They created their characters, so what gives?  I was worried about these 'folk', but I couldn't criticize since I only thought of stories with dead bodies, which worried me about my mental health.  What kinda of person could only think of stories with dead bodies?  (I've now expanded my stories about heroes and heroines and their journeys without dead bodies.) 

I held onto that 'lofty' ideal that I could control my characters until I had a hero refuse to act the way I thought he should at the black moment.  I simply stared at the computer, trying to write that scene but nothing came.  He wouldn't cooperate. When I realized I wanted him to act against his nature, things resolved themselves and he got his way.

Well, I had that experience again.  In Redemption Ranch I had a female Army captain, Captain Brenda Kaye, taking equine therapy for wounds she suffered in Iraq.  Once she appeared on the page, she wanted to take over the book.

Each time I opened my manuscript to finish writing Redemption Ranch, (Tyler and Beth were the hero and heroine) Brenda popped into my head.  I wrestled with her for more than a week before I promised her her own book.  After that, she left me alone.  Of course, Brenda had her secrets, and I when I started writing her book, she wasn't willing to share. (What nerve.)  The first thing I learned is she didn't want to be called Brenda.  She thought of herself a Kaye.  Writing A Ranch to Call Home was adventure.  My hero, Caleb Jensen, a pick-up rider in the rodeo, had his share of secrets, too, and his backstory came as a complete surprise to me. I teared up learning about him, but he was a survivor and took care of his younger brother. But writing their story was a joy and learning experience.

I hope you'll enjoy Kaye and Caleb's story.  They are characters who won my heart and I hope yours. It is a March 2014 release.


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