Monday, July 24, 2017

Finding Characters for My New Book

Robynne Rand is my alter-ego, as some of you may know. I blog over here under that name as The Rhode Island Writer (Get it Piedmont Writer/ Rhode Island Writer). Anyway, as part of my writing process I need to have pictures of who I think my characters would be. This helps me focus. I'm now at 40k words, the half-way mark and have been writing blind, as it were. I couldn't really see who my characters were. In Chapter 12, Abby and Michael have to go to the 4th of July party in Bristol. Which brought me back here,

Remember Cathryn and Steve?
Remember Genna and Pete?

and this prompted me to start searching. Last night, I found these two. I've always loved Jeffrey Dean Morgan and when I found out he and Hilarie Burton were a couple, well, that was just icing on the cake. (Love her on the Hallmark Channel)

My main characters Abby Pryzbylowicz and Michael Rosetti

Don't they make a nice couple? And they're just the right age. And bonus on top of that, Jeffrey was born on my birthday - April 22 - and his character name in P.S. I Love You (with Hilary Swank -- great movie!) was William Gallagher. So, yeah! I think that is a good omen for this book.

This novel takes a lot from my personal life dealing with my mother's diagnosis of Alzheimers. Write what you know, right? I've been trying to keep it light, some lines are just laugh out loud funny, because well, if I can't laugh about it sometimes, I'd spend all my time crying and who wants to do that. I think I'd classify it as romantic women's fiction because, well, it's not chick lit.

Abby is a novelist who keeps to herself. She's a nice girl who got screwed over by her ex-husband, and although doesn't necessarily hate men, she's wary of getting taken again. (Again, write what you know.)

Michael has his own garage and works on classic cars. His ex-wife was a bee-yotch of the first water who promised him kids and then reneged on the deal. (There's more to this but no spoilers here.) He's Rose's next door neighbor, hence the title of the book.

Then there's Abby's Aunt Rose. Her kids are wanting her to pack up her house to sell it, so Rose can move to California and move in with her daughter Mandy. However, Mandy's in London with her husband and kids for the summer, so Mandy asked Abby to go help Rose.
Aunt Rose

Last but not least, there's Elwood. Michael's dog. Because who doesn't love a good Rotty.
Elwood Blues

Here's the cover copy.

At forty-two, Abby Pryzbylowicz had everything she ever wanted—nice apartment, nice car, nice life. A novelist by trade, she pens romance novels, cozy mysteries, and the occasional thriller. A quiet woman, she only wanted to be left alone with her characters. However, when her cousin phoned and begged Abby to help her out with her mother she couldn’t say no. Abby loved her aunt. Besides, it was only for the summer.

Upon her arrival to Rose MacLaren’s house, Abby found her aunt a ferocious hoarder, had frequent bouts of forgetfulness, and a penchant for choosing her clothing according to color rather than season.

Then there was the mechanic’s dog who thought of Rose’s back yard as his literal dumping ground, not to mention the barking, the hole in the fence, and the ruination of forty years of heirloom roses.

Helping her aunt get her act together was the easy part.
Dealing with the mechanic next door was another story. 

Here is the mock-up cover I did. Needed one of those as well. Don't know if if this is the image I'll use, but it puts me in the right frame of mind to finish the book. (Fonts are obviously not my strong suit.)

If you want to read more about places I used to go in Rhode Island, here's my latest post on Scarborough Beach in RI. For all the ex-Pat's out there.

Tell me -- Do you need pictures of your characters to help fill in the gaps of what's inside your head? Do you need a cover before you can finish? Have you ever been to Rhode Island?

Anne Gallagher/Robynne Rand (c) 2017


Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Exactly. Who doesn't love a Rott!

Cool name, too.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Funny you should ask... I don't usually need a picture of my characters as I write them (that usually happens after I've finished the book), but for my current WIP I was getting stuck and so I started thinking about actors I've seen and one popped up. Bingo! Maybe now I'll have an easier time writing the story. I can hope, anyway! :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Mac -- When I was picking the dog, I knew it would have to be one of yours. You inspired me.

Stacy -- It's easier for me to have pictures, that way I don't have to keep wondering what they look like, what color eyes they have. I don't have to keep a character study, there they are.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I want to read this! Love the cover, the characters, the story idea and your summary. Happy writing!

Anne Gallagher said...

Karen -- Thank you so much! I have no idea when it will be out, but I'll let you know.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I'm thrilled to hear you have another book in the making. It sounds terrific, and I love that cover.

I've finished writing the first draft of my WIP and am knee-deep in revisions now. It's about 120K... waaaay too long... so I've got a lot of cutting to do. To answer your question, no, I don't need a picture of my characters to help me make them real. (At least I don't THINK I do. HA!) I might have to consider doing that sometime, though. They're already so "real" in my head, but maybe they could be "real-er" (sorry!) if I had a visual aid... :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Susan -- Congratulations on finishing your new book. Glad you're still writing. Visual aids for my latest book were late in coming. I actually had Aunt Rose's house in my head for the first 10 chapters. The house and the dog! I couldn't "see" Michael and Abby until they went to the party.