Monday, June 26, 2006

CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF A STORY

Last week, because anything is easier than writing a book, I updated my “ideas” folders.

The green one contains newspaper clippings, (I particularly like the one with the headline “Godiva Was Too Bare for the Fair” – ModX possibilities there?), magazine articles about interesting people, interesting ways of making a living, It also has snatches of story ideas, some of them really old. There’s one that I’ve never been able to let go of that begins: “The first bone was so small that it might have been that of a cat...” I have two pages. One day I’ll write the book.

The purple one is more formal. It has proper dividers labelled “Ellie”, “Trilogy”, “Desert”, these are ideas whose time has come and are books in the process of production. But at the back is a section labelled “Later”.

This is where I file away the first braining-storming attempts at stories. The bits that aren’t right for the book I’m working on, but could be developed into a different story. And a growing portfolio of minor characters who really should have their own story, some of whom have been waiting too long.

There’s a trio of difficult teenagers who are all grown up by now --

• Carenza, from Baby on Loan. The one who, to raise money to go backpacking in Europe, let her uncle’s house while he was away.

• Sadie, from The Baby Plan, who jealously sabotaged her Dad’s plans for a happy ever after.

• Princess Katerina – escape artist extraordinaire – from The Ordinary Princess

Then there’s the more mature Blanche from The Marriage Miracle, perhaps not a lead character, but definitely in line for a little TLC as a sub plot. A new “Old Cottage” book there, I think.

And not to forget the potential heroes just hanging around waiting for a suitable heroine to get them into trouble, there were two of them in His Desert Rose –

• Simon Partridge, the injured warrior and aide to His Highness Prince Hassan al Rashid, Emir of Ras al Hajar, and
• Tim Fenton, Chief Veterinary Officer of Ras al Hajar and brother of the lovely Rose, now the Emir’s wife.

Then there’s Zahir al-Khatib from The Sheikh’s Guarded Heart; he’s been on a tight leash for a couple of years and he’s ready to make hay.

And now I’ve added Stacey, sister of the heroine from my latest Romance (still untitled); what secret is Ellie keeping for her?

Why haven’t I written their stories before? It’s hard to put a finger on any specific reason. Shortage of time, mostly. Other projects have been louder in demanding my attention. Sometimes, too, the passage of time has dimmed the enthusiasm, the connection has gone. But these are all great characters and I think I might take them along with me to Italy later this year, sit them all on a warm stone terrace when the sun has set and see who comes along, whose pulse rate lifts...

In the meantime, I’d better get on with Belle and Ivo Grenville’s book or I won’t be able to go to Italy in September.



WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

I’ve installed a little gizmo on my blog – on the sidebar at the right; scroll down a bit and you’ll see a teeny map of the world. This will show where in the world visitors are from, which – I hope – will help me convince M&B how vitally important it is that I know (in advance) where my books are being published. If it disappears in a day or two, you’ll know that they all came from the same place and I’m here alone...

7 comments:

Sharon J said...

Well you're definitely not alone, that's for sure. And it will be interesting to see where your visitors come from.

I like the idea of using characters from old stories to create new stories. Hopefully I'll one day have stories that are old enough to do that with, too :)

Nicola Marsh said...

Liz,
I have a similar ideas notebook-plastic sleeves-mess!
I love jotting down ideas for future plots or keeping snippets of interesting articles.
Helps keep me motivated to get to that next story :)
You sound so much more organised than me though! Must try the folder trick rather than current mess...

Michelle Styles said...

Fingers crossed the little map does the trick. I suspect you will find people from around the globe read your blog. And why shouldn't they?

I remember Prnicess katerina from the Ordinary Princess with great fondness btw.

Julie said...

Oh, I'd love to see how Sadie is doing! The Baby Plan was the very first Liz Fielding novel I ever read and I've been hooked on your books ever since!

Kate Hardy said...

Interresting post, Liz. I have something similar, but it's all on computer (and backed up on my flash drive) - because I *loathe* filing. (I think there are some ideas in the plastic box hidden under my desk, aka my 'filing pile'... I'm working on the volcano principle, i.e. when they're important they'll rise to the top.)

allyblake said...

I'm a mix between you and Kate, Liz. Most of my more recent ideas are all in the computer but I do have one big fat green folder full of clippings and pictures and quotes that I am suddenly itching to go through!

Even before I ever started writing for publication I used to collect things like this, as I always found they took me somewhere else, to an emotional place or back to the time when I first found them.

Lovely stuff.

Liz Fielding said...

Infuriatingly, I just wrote a long response and then lost my connection! -gr-