When her childhood sweetheart, Adam Spencer, begins work on a restoration project in Noelle’s village, their friendship blossoms. But as her feelings for Adam deepen, she struggles with memories of what might have been and yearns for a future once thought lost. Faced with a life-altering revelation Aunt Joy took to her grave and a wrenching choice regarding the man she loves, Noelle could lose far more than her heart.
Guest Post by Traci Borum
Creating People, Creating Relationships
One aspect of writing I particularly love is creating characters. Whether it’s conjuring up a dreamy leading man, a quirky protagonist, or a sassy best friend, characterization can be the best part of this job. A writer gathers certain pieces—physical traits, quirks, personality, family history—and blends them together to create an entire person. And hopefully, that person will be one with depth and texture, one that the reader connects with or admires.
I also enjoy the challenge of creating relationships—taking two characters and trying to build the right chemistry between them. A particular challenge is making that relationship feel real. Many times, I’ll fall back on what I know—my own relationships, or relationships of other people that I’ve observed over the years. Just like in real life, if two characters enjoy each other’s company, they might banter a lot, laugh a lot. If they’re jealous of each other or have a tumultuous history together, they might use passive-aggressive jabs or back-handed compliments. If they’re falling in love, their body language might be shy or reserved, afraid to expose their vulnerability. If they’re falling out of love, their conversation is stilted and awkward, cold. These details inside a story can help make relationships on the page feel real.
To start the process of building a relationship in a novel, I usually ask myself a lot of questions: How long have they known each other? Have they told each other their secrets yet? Are they privately jealous of each other? Why, above all the other characters, have these two formed an attachment? Will they stay together for awhile, or will they grow apart?
To me, the heart of any story of any genre is the relationship between the characters. If the relationships don’t feel genuine—if they don’t “ring true”—readers are bound to stop reading.
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About the Author: Traci Borum is a writing teacher and native Texan. She’s also an avid reader of women’s fiction, most especially Elin Hilderbrand and Rosamunde Pilcher novels. Since the age of 12, she’s written poetry, short stories, magazine articles, and novels.
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