1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    My characters are rebelling!

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Link the Writer, Feb 17, 2011.

    So, here I was writing out a scene for my Western novel about an outlaw and a crippled Irish kid. I haven't written anything else out, but this scene had been in my head so its the first to be written.

    The scene is that the outlaw (named Mike Wolfletter, a former Civil War soldier and disguised) and the kid (named Timothy) travel with a bunch of settlers to a fort Mike knew best (as this was the fort his dad was once stationed during the Mexican War).

    Well, Mike meets a Scottish woman named Anna Grant and that night, when Timothy is asleep in a makeshift bed in a cellar (Mike elected to sleep outside), both he and Anna talk on the porch.

    Anna discovers that Mike was once a Confederate solder who joined the war at age 18. I had planned for him to be a Union soldier, but apparently that wasn't going to happen. Okay! So Mike fought for the South, but he fought for his own reasons.

    Then Mike starts having flashbacks to the battles. Antietam...his friends dying on Bloody Lane...

    Great, so my outlaw is a former Confederate soldier and is suffering PTSD 21 years after the war ended.

    To make matters even more complicated, it turns out Anna is a single woman in her twenties who likes herself a rebellious man and starts trying to romance him. Does she not know he's in his 40s? How young did women marry back in 1886 (when the story is set)? How old were their husbands?

    At this point, I stepped from the story. This was not what I had planned. I had planned for Mike to be a simple outlaw running around doing outlaw-y things.

    Just...what has happened to my story? I feel like both Anna and Mike took my idea, shoved it into a cannon and shot it to oblivion.
     
  2. joelpatterson
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    joelpatterson Member

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    You could have Anna absent mindedly pick up a novel that was lying around, start reading it to Mike, and get disgusted and toss it into the dirt...?
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Welcome to the world of storytelling lol Follow them see where they are going.

    My third book was ment to be a slapstick comedy - morphed into a dark humour time travel - very dark. Not what I set out to write. My books deepen change etc while I write them, I let the characters become what they want to become.

    Had major panic last night nearly killed my favourite character, previously he had died off camera in between books, he was old. I was gutted then he didn't die. Just hope my readers have the same feelings I did writing it last night - the oh my - no this character cannot die, oh thank goodness he is alive.
     
  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Excellent points, as always Elgaisma. :)

    It's just that...I'm not ready for romance! XD Yet Anna's like "Let me randomly make out with this depressed, PTSD-ing former Confederate soldier! smecksmecksmeck *rips his shirt open*"

    It doesn't feel realistic, considering at that point, they've known each other for only two days. Mike wants to keep moving and Anna wants to romance him. Yet she's traveling with her father. Eh...how would this work?
     
  5. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Write a harlequin style romance novel about a young woman falling in love with a strong 40-something confederate-gone-outlaw soldier. Sign it with a pen name and sell it for money.
     
  6. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Give Anna a conflict between her and her father, so she'll be more likely to rebel against him for Mike.

    To answer your question, women in those times married quite young - anywhere from 14-ish to their 20s. My guess would be around 18 average?

    Don't worry, steamy scenes are fun to write, haha.
     
  7. Terri
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    Terri Senior Member

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    I know in England (I'm a sucker for good historical romances) the women were on the marriage market at 17 or 18. Men tended to not marry till early 30s. So, 10+ years at that time was normal.
    Think to about the 'mail order brides' for lonely men out west in the late 1800s. I'm sure they weren't all young bucks & a lot of young girls took off from their families to escape one thing or another.
    Maybe Mike has been lonely due to the trauma of the war - keeping all emotions on a tight rein, so he's vulnerable to Anna.
    Maybe her father took her west because of some indiscretion - a scandal involving a lover??? & so she's hurting for lost love & wanting comfort herself. Maybe she also has the 'mothering' spirit ie helping birds w/ broken wings, etc. So, she decides to comfort him & herself at the same time... sparks fly.
    Haven't you or anyone you know made out with someone you hadn't known for very long? Not something I think we all like to admit to, but hey... one night stands DO happen. So, no. I don't think 2 days is too soon. Just let them take you along for the journey for awhile. See if you like the progression of the story. If not, have Anna shoot herself with a deringer & let Mike go on from there. ;)
    Just some thoughts... hope they help!
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's why following the story works - I had a similar incident with Socrates and Fyren in my first book - my intention had been to keep them with sexual tension throughout the book. I get to end of first chapter and Socrates is telling Fyren if he doesn't get out of his bedroom now he is going to kiss him lol

    Fact is I created two hot characters - they find each other attractive and both are single. There are huge obstacles to them having a relationship of sorts. And actually the relationship ended about halfway through the book when Socrates cheats on Fyren with Lewis Carroll and they have a fight.

    My advice is let them tell it they will probably find ways round the obstacles.
     
  9. Spring Gem
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    Spring Gem Member

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    In those days, women married young and often died in childbirth. Men left with young children would remarry usually to a woman younger than himself. I've found several instances of this in my own family history. As an example one set of my great-great grandparents, she was his third wife and was 27 yrs younger.

    Also, a never married woman in her mid-twenties would be seen as quickly becoming an old maid. If this image didn't fit what the woman really wanted, she would probably get quite forward with a man. You'd probably have to give her a reason for not being married before now, such as an over bearing father looking to arrange a marriage for her.

    If you are uncomfortable with the romance part, have Mike ride off into the sunset to continue his outlaw ways. :)
     

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