Digging for the Hero’s Wound
I love having smarty-pants writer friends who give me all sort of interesting ways of looking at my work and my characters. You know, I just plow ahead and create. The writers who plot everything out before hand amaze me. I swear I am going to try that some day. Yes. I really will. But in the mean time the magic of writing for me is the making it up as I go along.
During our visit, when I mentioned the difficult balance between romance and suspense, Grace Burrowes (writer of fabulous Regencies) brought up the hero’s wound as a way of helping to keep the balance. Wow. That’s been rolling around in this wobbly brain of mine. I’ve been thinking of it in terms of my characters.
So, in my first book SAFFRON NIGHTS (out in February), I know Jackson’s wound. He grew up in a harsh environment, parents in and out of jail, and so on. All of his emotion and creativity is channeled into his photography. But I only found that out as I wrote the first draft. I didn’t plan it.
Maeve, the female lead in SAFFRON NIGHTS, is wounded as well—she’s lost both of her parents in a very short time span and has had a series of bad relationships. So she has closed herself off from forming any meaningful relationships with men, choosing to focus her life completely on her career. So I think in just looking at the wounds of my characters, you have the source for a lot of internal conflict.
In CRAVINGS, it’s a little more muddled for me. I am smack dab in the middle of the first draft. Sasha, the lead female character, is a woman of many secrets and many wounds—starting with the fact that she was kicked out of her parents home at the age of seventeen and ending with the murder of an ex-lover, for which she was a key impetus.
But Sanj is a mysterious man. He’s my lead guy. On the one hand, I feel like I know him so well. He was a character in SAFFRON NIGHTS that provided some common sense and sanity to an intense situation.
But in this book, we find out that Sanj has a secret. This might be a good hiding place for a deep wound. It’s been mentioned twice in my draft. Once, by an old girlfriend who asks “Does she know about you?” It’s also been mentioned by a private investigator that works for him. Here’s a bit from one of their conversations:
“Now you wait, Sanj. What are you saying? Are you sleeping with her? Are you in a relationship with this woman?”
Sanj didn’t answer him. After all he was paying Josh; he didn’t have to tell him shit.
“I told you not to get involved with that Jennifer and look what happened,” Josh said.
“I know,” Sanj said. “Look, it’s different with Sasha.”
“What are you going to do, marry her?” He looked incredulous.
“We’ve just met. And you know it’s very complicated in my situation. I can’t just marry anyone,” he said. “I’m aware of that.”
Hmmm. So I am starting to get a vague idea of Sanj’s secrets and wounds, but still at this point it can be so many things. I guess I’ll have to keep writing to figure it out. Stay tuned.