Thursday, May 26, 2011

Character ruminations

I don't identify at all with the "modern woman" or the career woman or any of that. As a consequence I really struggle with making my heroines believable. Everything that a woman was expected to be in the 19th century (and in most cases actually wanted), is my ideal of the perfect life for a woman.

The seeds of how I need to create my heroines were planted last fall in a mentor appointment with Tracie Peterson at the ACFW conference.  At first I was running with the whole "fish out of water" thing and just not fitting in.

This week I've discovered that wasn't quite right. I've been having lots of troubles with the heroine in my current WIP, The Color of Love, set in 1857 central Louisiana. Turns out I've been trying to create her based on the wrong components of my personality!

So I've totally redrafted her, chunked everything I thought I knew, and started over. Now I'm going with intelligence that threatens men, a desire to learn all she can and share that with the generation behind her, while still desiring all of the things that make the typical 19th century woman.

A historical heroine doesn't have to be a suffragete or a royal pain or a journalist or a college graduate to be forward thinking. That's a huge revelation for me. She can be forward thinking simply in the way she views the world and the books she reads and daring to have an opinion on anything and everything.

That I can relate to.

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