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Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Care and Feeding of Our Characters

PLEASE NOTE: I am running my first-ever contest. To learn more, click on the little blue "Contest" tag at right. Welcome!

This week I've looked at the huge changes overtaking traditional publishing and the care and feeding of modern authors. While doing so I had to admit that our characters need love, too.

Sometimes they need us to get them out of a jam (or a pickle, depends on your home canning preferences) and other times they just need a little understanding.

Here is a segment from Stephanie Burnett, one of the narrators of A SECRET FAMILY RECIPE. She is waiting in her favorite yogurt parlor.

Just then I saw Jessica at the entrance and jumped up with a grin.

Jess held out her arms for a hug as I drew near. I was grateful. It had been a while since we’d seen each other and well, I wasn’t sure how happy she’d be about this meeting.

We hugged and then turned to the counter. “Order whatever you like,” I told her, quickly adding, “my treat.”

Jess looked wary. “That’s not necessary, Steph. I can buy my own yogurt.”

“I know you can, but you’re the one doing me the favor. Let me get this for you.”

Jessica gave me a long, appraising look, but then she smiled. “Okay,” she answered. “Thanks.”

We placed our orders and went to the booth I had chosen. It was the one we always preferred, back when we came here as a group of roommates, back when Jessica and Megan, Allie and I all lived together and occasionally came here for a cheap outing, back before . . .

“We heard about your grandma,” Jessica said, derailing my thought train just when it might have crashed on its own. “Are you doing okay?” The expression on her face had a whole sub-text written in the worry lines.

So there it is. Aren't you just champing at the bit to know what's going on with Stephanie? Yeah. Me, too. I'd better get busy!

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