"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you."
-- Maya Angelou, I know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Maya had a way of saying the obvious, didn't she? Well, I'm reducing my agony level a bit by finally letting one of my manuscripts free... soon!! I'm in the final edit stage and hope to have it in print by spring.
A draft excerpt:
"Yet, he haunted her thoughts awake or asleep. It was always his face that she saw in her dreams; his voice that she heard in the night. She was possessed, bewitched as he would say, by a man who had lived centuries ago, and whom she had only met in her dreams."
How do my story characters grow into three dimensional individuals? When I begin writing, they are usually flat. I have that untold seed of a story inside me, as Maya call it. I have always wanted to write a time travel story. I love those tales - someone travels to the future or goes back a few hundred years. In this case, my female character travels back in time, not by choice and with no idea why she's pulled back to the year 1804. Next, I name my character - in this case, I call her Rachael. Sometimes, as my female character evolves, I change her name, but in this case, Rachael remained Rachael. In fact, she has been chosen to perform a task in 1804 for Lady Rachael whose body she inhabits. So now I have two characters to develop - the two Rachaels. What do they look like? I decide that one will be a tanned, tall, green eyed redhead with wild untamed hair; the other is a petite blue-eyed curly haired blond with alabaster skin. As the story evolves and the manuscript grows, traits that they share become known. Why was she called back? I felt that I needed to call upon a rather outspoken friend of Rachael's, Kayla, to be the voice of reason when Rachael decides to go to an estate sale at a house Kayla believes is haunted. The stage is set. So you can see how both my story develops and my choice and number of characters grows. There are other persons in the manuscript, of course - a prime one is the male character who weaves the web across centuries.
As the story evolves and my fingers fly, personalities emerge with all their foibles and quirks. I have loved this story for many years and have worked on it piecemeal as I wrote other manuscripts. I find that as I edit it, I'm laughing, crying... totally enjoying the journey that Rachael is taking me on.
I hope this gives you a bit of insight into how I write. In this case, I love how my characters take me along as they journey back in time.
Keep writing - it's good for the soul!