Tonight is my quiet time as it’s Band Practice night, so I’m slated to start on the second draft of First Blood (the book formerly known as Hunted in Shadow). It opens with the heroine, Marley, who was largely the reason why I need a full rewrite. I didn’t know her the first draft and it totally showed. I’ve gotten to know her better since, so I feel better prepared. But honestly, she’s going to be hard. REALLY hard to write.
Because she is so NOT like me. That’s not to say that I habitually write heroines who are carbon copies or even idealized versions of myself. I don’t. But I DO routinely write strong, very dominant women. Because I am a strong, very dominant woman. I am a doer, an acter, a take charge kind of person.
Marley is submissive. She’s taken a lot of crap in her life and is a good example of the psychological concept “learned helplessness”. She’s learned that bad things will happen (more specifically to her), and there’s not a damn thing she can do to stop them. She is the sort of person who waits, hopes, and accepts. She’s the sort of woman who is going to SERIOUSLY activate the protective dominance in my hero. And part of her character arc over the book (the thing that was missing in draft 1) is that she has to move from being this wait, hope, and accept kind of person to someone who finds her own strength and takes action.
And this is going to be really hard for me because I don’t have a submissive bone in my body. I’m not passive. That sort of mentality does not feel comfortable to me, nor does it make a whole lot of sense.
So that’s my big challenge. To get into her headspace and write her believably and sympathetically.
Wish me luck.
How do you write authentic characters who aren’t like you?