Reworking Characters and Plots

In my last post I mentioned reworking characters and even plots when it’s needed.  You might be sitting there thinking oh my God I’ve put countless and possibly even painstaking hours creating my book/story thus far. I’ve been there, done that and can honestly say, sometimes revision is key to making your story the best it’s ever going to be. Some things can be reworked so easily. Maybe you worded something one way and at a later time you looked back on it and said to yourself, this doesn’t make sense now, or I could word that so much better. I have.  In proofing and editing my novel, I spent many hours reworking a lot of it to finally make the novel what I felt it should be. Why did I rework it? Was it not good enough? In some small ways it needed to be made better yes. We all grow as we age and we learn better methods as writers. I found out after many times of re-reading my novel that there were things I looked at naively or things I simply was naive about when the book was originally written out from my initial ideas.  So for my book, no it wasn’t good enough yet. I also decided before publication of “A Killer’s Saga,” that it was going to become erotic fiction.  With that being said, that meant reworking love scenes and even adding some. Spicing some scenes up and even adding some new ones. And I can honestly say it was more than worth it to go back and revise, add on and better my work.

Ok so with all that decided did i rework characters or plots? Actually yes, to both.  Jordan became a little more adventurous sexually. She opened herself up to being more wild and carefree.  Why did I change her this way and how did I do it? Why was easy, on a whim I got the idea that she would live a little wild with Alex and do things she never thought she would.  Nothing major, just having sex in a public place, and allowing her relationship with Alex to take front importance on rare occasion, even coming before her career to a point.  I felt it was important to make someone become more important to Jordan seeing as being a detective had become “workaholic” serious to her. I felt there was nothing wrong with showing even this all too serious and business like gal could throw back and be a fun sensitive, and warm lover and friend. So while I didn’t fully rework Jordan, I made a small change that I felt made her more human and even more likable.

I’ve found as I grow as a writer so are my characters and the world they live in. Especially because A Killer’s Saga is the first in a series. My husband has become a great help with proofing, editing and even character growth. He inspired changes that will take place with Josh. While I haven’t begun to rework Josh, again it’s nothing I need to fret over. I made a decision concerning him and all I need to do is implement it.

Reworking Plots

As I mentioned above, I also reworked a plot.  It was due to my husband’s help that I realized I had been too repetitious with my serial killer and her pattern of where to go when she wished to lure Jordan in.  This meant a somewhat serious rewrite.  I had to rework the full end to the book. Some elements could stay in place, while the repeating needed to go.  What can I say?  I was about 19 when I came up with the idea for the series and spent many sleepless nights penning (yes paper and pen back then) all the ideas and storyline I could before I lost ideas.  Just like I’m sure a lot of other writers do, I get attached to my stories and characters.  So I wasn’t looking forward to a rewrite (one I felt was a major rewrite.)  But it HAD to be done.  I’m stubborn. No way I wanted to rework it. Not because I didn’t want to make it better.  But because the thought of reworking it made my brain hurt.  I could have left the piece alone, could have left it repetitive and still published it just like that. (seeing as I self published.) Yet I knew in my heart I couldn’t leave it that way.  I had worked on this novel for ten years if not longer.  I knew also the novel may take harsh criticism with the original ending.

How did I rework it?  How did I get it finished even though my brain said “this is a pain and too much work,”? I forced myself.  Yup forced.  I went over what could stay about the chapter needing reworked, and what needed to go. That was the simple part. Then there was coming up with a whole new last climatic scene. I wholeheartedly advise letting someone read your work as well as even help you brainstorm.  Yes this is your baby, yes you created it from ground up. But you will be amazed how well another person’s input can work in a positive way. It was in brainstorming the new plot with my hubby that I had found the new ending. It wasn’t as hard as I had convinced my brain it was gonna be. I simply had to find a setting and scene that worked with what foundation had been laid. It may have been a major rewrite because location of the scene needed changing and organization of the scene needed reworked. The actual end wasn’t changed in the sense that the key elements were still there. It was a take-down of the our bad guy (girl in this case) scene. Most of the rework really was the locale. The only major change to the end was in the sense our killer didn’t use her calling cards to lure Jordan in for a chase scene.  It turned more classic.

Does Jordan bring the killer to justice? Did my rewrite work out for the best? You tell me.  Feel free to check out “A Killer’s Saga.” Link below.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/389973

 

Creating your fictional character(s)

Character creation is of course one of the very first things for any story. Who is the hero? or main character…what are they like? Their personality, habits and how do they make a living?  Maybe these are the most important questions to build your character from.  I know for me sometimes the personality of a character is already in my mind even though I have yet to form a physical appearance and such. For my detective Jordan Kade, I already had a personality in mind. She was going to be strong willed, stubborn, but a detective with faults that rose literally by things that happen regularly in her profession. Jordan can handle a gross crime scene, horrid  human behavior and the like, but when she is face to face with victim’s families she is uneasy and feels out of place. I knew I wanted my strong female lead to dress in a specific way. She dresses professional but comfortable never losing a sense of who she is and is able to stay down to Earth by doing so.  I knew also that I wanted her to be from a wealthy background, have everything including looks, that someone else could envy. And yet even with this being a part of who she is, she still relates to the average person. She works hard and loves to be helpful. She’s kind with her money and anything else she has to give.

So with her personality and habits already formed, how did I visualize the Detective? Hair color? Eyes? Body type? Body type was easy for me to decide on. I wanted her to seem perfect, at least in others’ eyes.  Sexy and alluring, someone who could charm her way through things with her looks if need be.  But I also chose for Jordan not to see what others do about her.  Not oblivious just blind to it like we are to a lover’s faults. 

Aside from all that, another important thing in building a character is how they relate to others.  Let’s start with how I made her relate to her parents. Jordan was pampered and brought up with everything a child could want and or need. Spoiled and yet she did not let that define her and it doesn’t make her behave as if she is spoiled. Jordan’s mother tends to coddle her so Jordan tends to seek space from her mother.  Her father however (a retired detective) is her mentor and Jordan still absorbs any and all knowledge her father has to give.  She’s closest to him versus her mother, seeing as she learned his trait, his skill and became a detective in his footsteps.

Then there’s Alex. her best friend and confidant. A man who means the world to her even if he comes and goes in her life as if they were only acquaintances. She loves him deeply and always has.  In some ways with Alex, Jordan is still the younger version of herself who was able to have fun and just live a bit…he was an escape from things in her life she feels she cannot handle. Alex is her rock, her other half.

Even with characters all can’t be peachy and enlightened.  Is the real world this way? No.  Creating Josh wasn’t hard.  I wanted him to be an equal of sorts even if it doesn’t show so well that he matches her.  Yet he is also the things Jordan is not. Wealthy now, but grew up poor and worked hard to achieve similar fame and success in his career as a bounty hunter.  He’s cocky and can come off self centered.  A pretty boy of sorts, who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to show that. All of his behaviors, just the way he holds himself is a put off for Jordan. She dislikes him and its more than obvious.  And while Josh likes the detective, it hides behind a facade of giving as good as he gets from her.  Will they ever grow to like each other?  Or will it be push and shove each time they meet?  Ironically these questions I didn’t have answered in the beginning of “A Killer’s Saga.”  The relationship between Jordan and Josh took it’s own turns and twists as I worked on the storyline.

Characters can be like that, grow, change or even become what you need them to, to complete the story.  In the end what matters is if the characters fit the whole picture. I found that Josh changed mid story into someone and something more important than I envisioned him.  That’s not to say he changed in the way of me scrapping who he started out to be, he simply evolved. Sometimes characters need to evolve in the sense of fitting what you may have changed about the story as it progressed.  And that’s ok.  It’s even ok to completely rework a character.  Maybe one you came up with for a minor scene becomes an intergral part of the story.

Never be afraid to set a story aside long enough to get a new perspective on it. Rework characters and plots that need it, and ,make your story one that makes you proud. Build your characters until they feel real and not only become a part of you, but become someone you cannot forget.

Below I’ll leave a link for the novel feel free to comment on this post and also to check out the novel. First 20% can be downloaded free!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/389973