Romance Weekly: Characters, Inspiration, and Plot Holes

‘Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all….. About our writing of course! 

If you’ve come from Tessa Gray’s blog, welcome. If not, go back…  http://www.tessagray.comWomen’s Fiction author, Tessa Gray, writes stories set in the tiny West Texas town of Alpine. Check out her newest release. But come right back!!!

Tessa Gray

 

 

This week’s questions are brought to us from Jeanne McDonald.

1. How did you go about choosing the names for your characters?

aidan

The minds and personalities of my characters form long before I name them. My daughters or the name generator on Scrivener offer me the most character names. Occasionally, I look up popular names in certain years to find something that’s not too far fetched for the age of the person I’m writing about. I’m rarely tied to a name. On certain occasions, my character’s names have changed by the time I’ve written half the story. Family and friend names are mostly avoided, especially if that character will be having sex on the page or will be killed. This helps me avoid awkward Christmas parties.

 

2. Where did the inspiration for your current book come from?

pitch

You could say that I pitched my way to my new series. The seed of an idea for the series came from my very first pitch to an agent. I had planned two books about sisters and the agent suggested I add a third sister because three of anything is better than two. The problem was I had already completed the first book and didn’t know where to put her. I made her estranged and shipped her off to Paris to deal with later.

As I wrote the second book, I obsessed about the third sister. Why was she in Paris? What was she like? A Bostonian blueblood by birth, the character had black hair and an edgy personality. She loved art, but wasn’t an artist. I named her Alex. When I completed the second book, I dove into her story.

An agent at a different pitch session at a different conference suggested I focus on the hero’s brother for the sequel instead of the sisters, because romance readers tend to follow male characters more than female characters. I wrote his story and then his best friend’s story afterward to give me that magical third book. I placed the original two books on the sisters in storage for a while.

Ironically, an editor I pitched at a conference gave me the title of Alex’s story Untrue Colors.

The brother centric series, led by Alex my heroine, just sold to Entangled Publishing. The moral is that listening to agents and editors’ suggestions at pitch sessions can help add the magic ingredients that take a manuscript from the slush pile and turn it into a sale.

 

3. What methods do you use to ensure you have no plot holes (journal, storyboard, outline, editor, etc.)?

plot holes

I plot before I write, but I usually rewrite the plot toward the end, because I’ve missed some poignant fact that screws up the entire story. More important, I rely on critique partners and beta readers to find my plot holes. They’re good and not afraid to completely challenge my story. I’ve had eye color wrong, dates wrong, and once I wrote a story about Delphi when I meant Delhi. In other words, I need help. A CP once told me my heroine would never whine in the dire situation I’d placed her in, and my hero wouldn’t be such a jerk to her. I rewrote the scenes, because she was right and the book is better now.

 

The next stop on the blog hop is Daphne and Golden Pen winner Susan Scott Shelley. http://www.susanscottshelley.com/#!blog/c1cod. She’s not only an amazing writer, but she’s insane enough to be my critique partner and has endured writing some novellas with me as well! Our first published work is “Tackled by the Girl Next Door,” published by The Wild Rose Press in October 2014.Tackled by the Girl Next Door

12 thoughts on “Romance Weekly: Characters, Inspiration, and Plot Holes

  1. Congrats on your Wild Rose Press release! I’m releasing my second book with them in August – have learned a lot from the people there. But enough about me…

    “Family and friend names are mostly avoided, especially if that character will be having sex on the page or will be killed. This helps me avoid awkward Christmas parties.” HILARIOUS!!!

    1. I had a villain named after a close and when my daughters pointed it out, I realized I probably couldn’t have her be bitch in the book and the get brutally murdered by another villain. I did include my husband and his two brothers in a bar scene. They’re three old men drinking watered down liquor and are only there as a backdrop!

  2. Great plot holes picture! :-)
    It’s so great to have that second (or third, or fourth) set of eyes for reviewing the manuscript.
    By whatever method of magic your brother centric series came about — it’s awesome and I can’t wait to see the novels in my kindle library.

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