Tag Archives: Scarlett O’Hara

Saying goodbye…

I’m usually not sentimental when it comes to leaving something or someplace. I’m not one of those people who take forever to say goodbye at gatherings. You know the kind I mean: just like that character from the old Saturday Night live routine The Thing That Wouldn’t leave!! So not me. When I say my goodbyes, I leave. Exit, stage right. Follow to the Egress. Jaeger, out!

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But lately, it’s been a little more difficult to say goodbye to my characters when I’ve typed THE END in a manuscript. I’ve been living and breathing with them for several months and I’ve become devoted to them on so many levels, it’s maybe a little creepy. Well, maybe not creepy, but certainly unusual.  They are, after all, characters, not real people I’ve forged attachments to. But I’ve been in their heads,( okay, a little creepy!) showing their emotions, giving their dialogue a platform on the page to express themselves. I’ve been their mentor, creator, best friend, bon-vivant, encourager,  and chief comforter. And now they have left me…. I feel sad and restless and like an empty nester all over again.

Yeah, okay, I’ll admit it does sound like I need to get out more and be around real, live, people.  You’ve got me, there.

But hear me out. These characters, my babies for lack of a better word, are as close to me right now than my actual loved ones  are – maybe even closer – because I see the world through their eyes, hear their voices through my ears, and experience their crush of emotions through my limbic system. In the purest sense of  written form, they are me and I am they.

Okay, so now creepy and a little too science-fictiony for my sanity. But I think all the writers out there know what I mean. Here are a few pretty literary types explaining it much better than I am.

Cartoonist Berkely Breathed put it this way: “I will go to my grave in a state of abject endless fascination that we all have the capacity to become emotionally involved with a personality that doesn’t exist.”  Writer Teresa Mummert  says, “Sometimes I scare myself at how easily I slip inside my mind and live vicariously through these characters.”  But my favorite quote is from G.K. Chesterton: “I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story.”

So, that’s my rant for today. I’ll deal with saying my goodbyes to my most current characters much as Scarlett O’Hara did: “I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.”

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The newest characters I’ve had to say goodbye to live in THE VOICES OF ANGELS, available from The Wild Rose Press and my local Toadstool Bookstore.

THE VOICES OF ANGELS

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Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Available here: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

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Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Friends, Life challenges, Literary characters, love, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

The Power of Friends… in Literature

Where would Nancy Drew be without George Fayne? Where would Huck Finn have wound up without Tom Sawyer? Scarlett may have derided her, but Melanie Wilkes was her best friend hook, line,  sinker and soul. What about Elizabeth Bennett and Charlotte Lucas? Without Charlotte, Lizzy may just have wound up married to the horrible Mr Collins. Charlotte did her a solid by marrying the little worm. Harry Potter,  Ron Weasley and even Hermione,  were the best of ‘mates. And dear God, could we have had Sherlock Holmes without John Watson?

In my last post I talked about my friends and what having them in my life means to me. Literature is  chock-full of besties and we are all better for having shared in their friendships, albeit second  hand.

Friends in literature serve so many purposes aside from simply being  “a friend.” They are foils for one another’s characters; sounding boards for ideas, problems, and resolutions; cheerleaders and soul soothers, and best of all, the true  friend will always steer you in the right direction when you are going the wrong way, tell you if you have spinach in your teeth, and hold your hair back when you need to vomit. This last one is literally and theoretically!

My two favorite books of all time are Gone with The Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Both are rife with the beauty and detail of friendship. In both, the main characters of Dorothy and Scarlett need to find their way: home and in life. The TinMan, Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow all help Dorothy face trials, tests,  and tribulations in order to find her way back  to Kansas, to Auntie Em’s loving care, and to discover her heart’s desire. Scarlett is Melanie’s opposite in every way, except in their love for Ashley, and in  this opposition of character details, each woman brings out the best in the other. Despite what many historians have postulated, I really do think Scarlett’s road to redemption begins when she brings Melanie back to Tara after the birth of Beau. She risks her life to make sure they all get home safe and sound. Whether you believe it is for a selfish reason, such as ensuring Ashley knows Scarlett helped his wife, or  – like me – because deep down Scarlett was truly a good and loyal person, their relationship ( Scarlett and Melanie’s) is the strongest and most enduring in the novel.

When a writer creates friends, he/she needs to know what each friend brings to the relationship table. It’s simply not enough to have the main character have friends. They serve purposes, both positive and negative, and these purposes enrich the novel and the character’s quest. They play off one another, spark ideas between them, and – such as in the case of Holmes and Watson – better the lives of the people surrounding them. Ron and Hermione show Harry Potter that people do care about him -not because he is a wizard – but because he is a person with feelings and desires, just like they are. Sharing triumphs, failures, tears, and joy are just some of the emotions friends go through together.

Think about your favorites books. What are the friend relationships like? Is the book made better because of them?  What does each friend bring to the relationship table for the main character? When you write, think about these facets. Your book will be richer for it, and sound more true-to-life.

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