What to Do When Your Characters Revolt
When we began our Turning Stone series we had a basic plot idea for each of the planned books. Books 1-2 were solidly plotted. Books 4-6, not so much. But we had skeleton plots and knew where we wanted the books to go. Along the way we had to ditch one of the books because we couldn’t come up with a decent plot. Fortunately, we hadn’t pitched all the books to the editor when she bought books 1-3, because book four got turned upside down-twice.
Originally meant to be a book that highlighted the paranormal power of the Promised Ones, Alexi and Rhys Temple and their child, book four morphed . . . a lot. First we decided that we needed to add more romance in that book, so we shelved the trio of power idea and came up with another more exciting plot—a love triangle and a kidnapping. We had three characters in mind: Mike, Mary Kate, and LJ who would be trying to keep the villain from kidnapping LJ’s baby.
Then a character from book three—Fiona Kayler—who hadn’t even been written into our original plot—decided she wanted her own book. Kicking and screaming for a starring role, she repeatedly insisted our planned heroine had to go. No matter how much we tried to silence her, Fiona was determined to have her way.
We hear you saying, “What? A minor, unplanned character changed your whole book?” Trust us. It happens. Rather than fight Fiona, we decided to run with her desire to take over the book.
Here’s what we did to make Fiona’s insistence on stardom and our original idea work. Hopefully, these tips can help you, too.
- We went back to the drawing board. Just like time away from a finished manuscript shows you the errors you’ve made, replotting from a different perspective can do the same thing. We looked at the story from Fiona’s perspective asking, “Does she have more to lose than our original heroine, Mary Kate?” She did. So she got to be the heroine. Mary Kate, by the way, became the secondary heroine in the book and will be the heroine in book five.
- We listened to the character. Sometimes we get so tied into our designated ideas that we can’t see the forest for the trees. Think about it like this: When your critique partners and editors look at your work they see plot issues you miss. Things that make you say, “Duh! Why didn’t I see that?” When issues are pointed out they often make sense. Listening to your character is a like that. You don’t have to do exactly what your character wants, but their ideas are usually spot on.
- We found additional elements of danger and problems we added to the overarching series plot because we listened to Fiona and allowed her to get into trouble. Who doesn’t like more danger and conflict?
- We melded plot lines. Once we’d decided that displaying the paranormal power of the Promised Ones wasn’t enough to carry the original plot, we looked at what elements from our original idea we could carry into the new plot. This worked for us because we usually have a couple of subplots in our books, as well as two love stories. If you don’t have room for subplots, do what we did in #5.
- We used the opportunity to create another story for the demoted heroine, Mary Kate. A new plot, a new hero, and a HEA for Mary Kate in book five of the series. Because of her demotion, she gets roles in three books. Lucky Mary Kate.
Looking back on the process, we’d say it was a fortunate happenstance that a minor character in book three decided she wanted a starring role and would not leave us alone. So, if an unruly character decides to take over your story, don’t freak out and think all is lost. It’s not. You’ve only reached a fork in the creative road, one that might even prove to lead you to places you only dreamt of.
When mercenary soldier Michael Corritore answers a desperate call from an ex-military buddy, he finds himself in the middle of a double kidnapping, caught in an ancient war between two shape shifter factions, and ensnared between two female shape shifters after the same thing … him.
Shape shifter Fiona Kayler will do anything to keep the shipping company her father left her, including getting in bed with the enemy. But when she believes the man trying to steal her company is involved with kidnapping her nephew, she must choose between family, fortune, and love. The problem is … she wants all three.
Mike Corritore wheeled up the circular drive of the impressive house on Lakeshore Road and cut the engine on his motorcycle. After a quick glance around, he shouldered the bags containing his clothes, ammo, pump shotgun, and talwar sword. Then he headed for the carved front door. The doorbell echoed inside indicating the mansion had a cavernous entry hall. He searched the entrance stoop for security cameras and found none.
What the heck had he gotten himself into? A rich bitch, with no security on her home, mixed up with a bad syndicate spelled major trouble. With this chintzy level of security, it would take more time than he originally anticipated to make her house and business secure.
After a couple of minutes the door opened.
“Can I help you?” asked an attractive redhead.
“I’m Mike Corritore. Here to see Fiona Kayler. Will you tell her I’ve arrived?”
The redhead looked him over, then braced her legs shoulder width apart and crossed her arms over her curvy bust. “Do you have identification, Mr. Corritore?”
Mike returned her once-over. Her porcelain complexion blushed pink at his bold examination, and she tossed her mane of wavy, mahogany hair defiantly.
Damn, she was gorgeous.
If she thought her insolent pose enough to keep him, or intruders out, she’d better reconsider.
“Hugh sent me.” He stepped forward but she blocked him.
“A driver’s license for your very expensive motorcycle will suffice,” she said, wiggling her fingers at him. When he didn’t comply, she stepped back and reached to the side of the door.
The distinct cachung of a gun cocking sent him flying to the right of the doorway.
“Identification, Mr. Corritore. Please,” she said as she leveled a pistol at him.
Mike dug in his rear pants’ pocket. “Hugh lied,” he said as he held out his driver’s license. “You don’t need protection.”
After inspecting his identification, she lowered her weapon and waved him inside. “For my business, Mr. Corritore. I’m capable of protecting my home, but I can’t draw my gun just anywhere.”
“You should get a conceal and carry license,” Mike said as he entered.
She put the safety on the gun and stashed the weapon in the table beside the front door.
“I take it you’re not the help,” he said, glancing around the entry hall.
She held out her hand. “Fiona Kayler. Nice to meet you, Mr. Corritore.”
“Mike,” he said, taking her hand. Her palm, warm and soft, told him she lived a life of leisure. But her strong grip screamed, No patsy. He held her hand a bit longer than he should have. She wriggled free and waved him to the left.
With a nod, she led him toward a sumptuously decorated room. He followed, his eyes taking in the soft curves of her rear as she sashayed across the marble-tiled floor. Mike’s body reacted to the seductive wiggle of her bottom. She walked as sexy as she looked.
Keep your mind on the job, Corritore. He shifted his gaze away from temptation, searching the ceiling and corners of the entry for security cameras. If she had them, they were well hidden.
The measured click of her high heels on the hard marble tile floor disappeared as they stepped on the thick, white carpet of the living room. This room appeared cozier than the entry. A huge gold, gilt-edged mirror hung over the fireplace reflecting the scene outside the oversized plate-glass window.
She motioned to a seat beside the fireplace. Mike chose a location less exposed to the exterior, where he could watch the entrance to the room. Fiona dragged a side chair across the room to where he sat, positioning it at a right angle to his seat. Two vertical furrows appeared in the carpeting, bisecting their shoe impressions and the vacuumed paths in the thick fibers. Apparently, she didn’t use this room much.
“So, Ms. Kayler—”
“Fiona,” she corrected.
“Fiona, exactly what do you need me to do?” As he said the words, he had a lurid vision of what he’d like to do to this lovely woman. He shook it off. She was Hugh’s friend and in trouble. He had no business screwing around with damsels in distress. They were needy. The last thing he wanted.
“A couple of years ago I had a problem with smugglers. They brought in some hazardous materials which got me in trouble with Homeland Security and the FBI. They cleared me, but my business took a pretty big hit. To keep things afloat, I’ve had to get in bed with some rough characters recently.”
At the phrase get in bed with Mike cocked his eyebrow at her.
“Not literally,” she amended quickly, as a dusky pink blush crept over her pale complexion. “I need my security beefed up so I don’t have a replay of two years ago.”
“Any good security company could upgrade you.”
“I also need someone I can trust implicitly. Hugh vouched for you, and I trust Hugh.”
“We should start with your home security. I didn’t see surveillance cameras at the door.”
“My home is perfectly safe. It’s my business I’m concerned about.”
Fiona crossed her arms over her chest, her body language closing off to further suggestions. Mike followed her motions. As he did, he spotted a red dot on her chest. The dot wiggled.
“Get down!” Mike shouted as he dove for Fiona.
Amazon buy links:
The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1):
Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2):
Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3):
The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4):
Author Bio for C.D. Hersh:
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.
Together they have co-authored a number of dramas, six which have been produced in Ohio, where they live. Their interactive Christmas production had five seasonal runs in their hometown and has been sold in Virginia, California, and Ohio. Their most recent collaborative writing efforts have been focused on romance. The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. They also have a Christmas novella, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow, with seven other authors.
Where you can find CD:
WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS FOR STACY HOFF:
DESIRE IN THE ARCTIC http://amzn.to/1KjfP9V
DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADEShttp://amzn.to/1YEseie
LAWFULLY YOURS http://amzn.to/1Ky5CZm
SEASON OF LOVE http://amzn.to/1NsByfu