Archive for August, 2012

Back Story and Agent Wyatt’s underwear

In my humble opinion, you can tell a lot about the main characters in a story by the details that permeate their lives. All the eccentricities, habits, mannerisms if you will, they come from their lifetimes of cumulative experiences. Of course, since characters in a book have no lives beyond what the writer fabricates for them, those experiences also need to be created in the form of back stories.

Back story is the life the character had up to the point that the reader is brought into the picture. The amount of back story required really depends on how much character development is required. In the case of a series, the back stories need to be extensive for recurring characters.

As an example, take Agent Wyatt’s underwear. Since I write suspenseful romance, Agent Wyatt invariably spends a lot of time exposing his skivvies (and sometimes more). This means that his underwear requires description.  A person’s underwear tells you certain thing’s about their character. In the case of Agent Wyatt, it’s very telling.

I imagine Agent Wyatt in Calvin Klein tank t-shirts (classy wife-beater, I guess) and matching boxer-briefs in shades of heather grey, charcoal, and black, period. His underwear is classic, expensive, and has nothing to do with Agent Wyatt’s preferences whatsoever. Why? It’s part of his back story.

Like a lot of men, Agent Wyatt has never been in charge of buying his own underwear. His mother made that decision for him when he was born and continued to be in charge of what he wore under his clothing until his girlfriend, Lexi, took over. From that point on, Lexi made the decision as to what she liked to see her man in and continued on where Agent Wyatt’s mother left off for the next fourteen years. After the divorce, Agent Wyatt didn’t give his underwear a second thought. He simply continued to wear what was left for him. He will do so until the poor things fall apart beyond usefulness. As is very evident in the dialogue, Agent Wyatt is much more interested in Bernice’s underwear than his own.

Bernice likes Agent Wyatt’s underwear just fine. They are not evolved enough in their relationship for her to pick up where Lexi left off. Her light-handedness when it comes to relationships is part of Bernice’s back story.

Meanwhile, for the readers who care, isn’t it nice to imagine Agent Wyatt in his undies? It makes me smile.

Chronicles of the Validation Junkie – Prt 1

That really should be the title of my blog. I’ve never been good at simply believing in myself. Kudos to the lucky people that are. Self-confidence is a rare gift. I apparently missed the occasion when that particular gift was passed out (I was probably late because I was ripping my closet apart in abject frustration, trying to find something presentable to wear). So instead, here I sit hovering around friends and loved ones like a compliment parasite, waiting to feed off the smallest molecule of positive reinforcement.

It’s sad really. They have better things to do with their time than give me silly pep talks, but oh how I need them, especially when life is particularly overwhelming, like now.

That’s why when the lady at the bank tells me she’s anxiously waiting for me to get Book 3 done, I feel a little less like a fraud. Maybe this whole writing thing isn’t a complete waste of time. Maybe someone out in the ethos is actually reading this drivel I post, and is not just some spammer going through the motions.

If so, I sincerely hope that my drivel is at least entertaining.

Memories… the corners of my mind…

So, to quote my absolute favorite line from “Steel Magnolias” (an awesome chick flick if there ever was one): “I’m busier than a one-armed coat hanger”. Sometimes though, when I actually stop for three seconds and get my bearings, I sometimes get flooded with that great sense of  “aahhh.”  That happened last night.

As has been the particular pile of crap dejour clogging the fan for the past couple of weeks, our rental house was vacated by our previous tenants shortly after July 4th, and the husband and I have been left to clean it up and advertise it for new tenants before the mortgage payment for August becomes due. It’s been two long years since I have spent more than 30 minutes at this property, but for the last two weeks, we’ve become reacquainted.

This house was the first house that I purchased by myself as an adult. I was 26 at the time and single. Young, single women buying houses is almost unheard of in my neck of the woods, but I eventually managed to pull it off. The boyfriend at the time stuck around for two more years, then we parted ways. After getting married, the husband and I kept it as an investment, lived there together for a short while, then rented it out.

Walking up the front deck to go in and lay carpeting last night, I stopped and looked around. At that moment, I remembered why I bought the house in the first place. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I go into certain places, I get feelings that wash over me. It only happens once in a while, but when it does, I know I’m suppose to acknowledge it and do something. That’s what happened when I bought this house. An overwhelming sense of comfort covered me like a cherished blanket, and I knew I had to buy it.

That feeling came back last night, and for the first time in almost a month, I just stopped, took a deep breath and said out loud, “Anyone would be lucky to live here.” I really hope I get to pass on that feeling on to a worthy tenant.