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Dec
01
2010

Accepting the Differences

So today I’m feeling inspired by my real life. I have two kids and the older they get, the more differences I see in them. I used to think that they were the same, but I think that was more wishful thinking on my part than anything else. See if they were the same, then I had a firm grip on how to raise them together. But alas, they’re becoming their own little people and I have to honor that. So I give in and deal with them each individually, focusing on their own needs in the way that works best for them. More work for me, but better for them.

Now that I’ve accepted that I have two very unique children, it’s fun to see the differences present themselves. One difference was in their dance classes. When the teacher calls them to form a line, one child automatically tries to get as close to the front as possible and the other hangs from the bar at the back of the line. When my oldest has something fun coming up at school, like pictures, I tell her and we get to talk about it and be excited. She’ll practice her smile and fret about how to have her hair that day. The younger is having her first ever school pictures today and I didn’t even tell her. Why? Because history shows that if it’s something I think she’ll be excited about, she’ll actually be very nervous. Like when they had a bus ride around the block as part of the school’s emergency planning. I told her thinking she would be excited like the older one had been a couple years ago. But instead, my little one got upset and didn’t want to go to school or take the bus or even put on clothes. I finally told her that maybe I was wrong and I’d check the schedule again. Lying, I told her I was wrong and the bus day was a different day so she didn’t have to worry and could still go have fun at school. It worked and she came home that day excited to tell me about her big adventure on the bus! So I’m hoping the same plays out for school pictures today too. Fingers crossed I don’t get a $30 package of pictures with her screaming in them!

Now after I’m done this blog, I get to sit and focus on revising my current WIP (NaNo novel). I’m reading it to see if the story needs any changes as well doing a line edit. It’s slow going, but I’m enjoying how the characters are coming to life and taking shape on the page. It’s fun to see how each novel brings new characters that are distinctly different from the last. Sometimes it’s tempting to fall into the mindset of the last characters I worked on, but I try my best to focus and let my new characters shine through. I try to let them tell me what choices they want to make and a lot of times it’s different than the hero/heroine I just finished working on. But that’s all part of the fun, right? Learning about new characters, telling a new story.

So how do you find it with your characters? Do you ever have trouble with one character taking on traits of another? Or are all of your characters so completely different that there’s no bleed-through from one to the next? Do you have one that’s at the front of the line and the other is hanging off the bar at the back of the room? Or maybe all of your characters fall somewhere in between.

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Heather

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  1. Shoshanna Evers says:

    Great post, Heather! I try really hard to make each character an individual, with his or her own concerns, interests, fears, hang-ups, etc. For my Nano book, I’m working on creating a character arc where both the H and h change over the course of the book because of their experience. Fun stuff 🙂

    1. hthurmeier says:

      Thanks Shoshanna! I try to plot out the h/h’s arcs in the outline stage. If I can see them change at that point, I’m pretty sure that they are going to be great in the finished product.

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