The previous post on this blog talks about the people in a story. I read this and thought - yes! As a writer, I get asked all the time where I get my ideas. Non-writers see how many books I've written and they say "You must run out of ideas, right?" And I always answer, "No. Because it's about the people."
When I'm thinking up my next story, I always start with the people. I have a hero and a heroine and I learn their backstory before I even begin to write their books. I know their past and what they want in the future, their problems and goals, hopes and dreams, and passions. Usually, a story will develop from just them.
And like the previous blog post said, that's what grabs you - as a reader and as an author. If I'm not invested in the people in my story, I don't want to write it. An author can have the most marvelous, convoluted plot, but without compelling characters, the story will fall flat. Thud.
Sometimes as a writer, these characters will grab you by the throat and demand you tell their story. Those are the best books to write, and for me they only happen once in awhile. Other times, I have to coax answers from my story people. They hesitate to reveal themselves, and often surprise me as I'm writing. Those are fun too, because I'll be involved in the story and then, BAM. I didn't know she had a rich aunt or I had no idea his brother died when he was young.
Right now, I'm starting a new book. When I wrote the synopsis, I was excited. I knew these people. This story was going to be an easy one. Hah! I started writing and both the hero and the heroine closed up. None of my business. Who was I, anyway? I'm having to write and write stuff in each of their point of view, most of it won't even be in the book. Why? Because I need to get to the point where they are willing to tell me their story. To let me past their walls.
Yes, this might sound weird. But it's truth, at least for me. After a few chapters, they'll loosen up and we'll go, and I'll have to go back and revise the beginning. Because some books are like that.
But the reader will know none of this. Hopefully, when they pick up this story to read, they will enjoy the gradual peeling of layers. I'm thinking they'll find something in these character they can relate to, and they will read on to see what else they can discover.