So today I have one of my favoritest authors in the world, Lindsey Leavitt. She’s cute, she’s funny as crap, and she once stole my bed. True. Story. (Okay, not as interesting as it sounds: Lindsey needed a place to crash for the night and SJW and I offered up our hotel room. Lindsey volunteered to sleep on the floor, but since she was pregnant, Shelli and I bunked up so she could have a bed of her own. Although I was disappointed that she didn’t name her daughter after me!)
And now I’m sharing her with you. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Lindsey Leavitt:
Heavy on the Velveeta by LL
One of my favorite writing stages is the getting-to-know your characters part. Like many authors, I fill out loads of character charts, draw pictures, and scan magazines as I try to make this fictional person REAL (My friend Tera Lynn Childs even posts character collages on her website. I'm totally inspired to do a diorama now). It's such a carefree stage, when that serial killer/princess of yours can be from any country! Any age! Like any style of eggs!
Yeah, I said eggs. Perhaps you've seen the movie RUNAWAY BRIDE. In it, Julia Roberts is a serial fiance, ditching her men at the alter again and again. As journalist Richard Gere researches her, he finds that all the men she's dating have a different view of the woman they thought she was, right down to how she eats her eggs. She orders it just like them, showing that she is essentially taking on their identity.
Who would have thought yolk could be so revealing? These are the quirks that make characters come to life. It's not enough to say I had eggs for breakfast. Isn't it more interesting to hear that I had scrambled eggs with velveeta, that my dad left for me on the stove? How much do you learn about me just from that:
1. Processed cheese. I approve. Velveeta girls aren't overly pretentious. You don't see many slabs of the stuff at wine and cheese parties, not that we're going. We're too busy eating our very-meltable cheese with a Coke Slurpee.
2. My dad is a nice guy. And he wakes up before me.
3. I'm currently living in his house, unless I like his eggs so much I drove over just to eat them.
This isn't only a good trick in creating characters. It's a good way to find out more about the people who surround you. Do they eat white or wheat bread? What style/brand of socks do they wear? What do they do when no one is looking? What toppings do they put on their ice cream? What song do they sing in the shower?
When you look beyond the obvious, you find there's a layer of reasons/motivations/desires/dreams that people don't intentionally show, right down to their breakfast choices. So take your loved one/character out to I-HOP and see what you learn.
(Mmmm.... forget the velveeta. STUFFED FRENCH TOAST PLEASE).
And now you have the chance to win a signed copy of Lindsey’s uber-fab PRINCESS FOR HIRE, along with some other cool swag. Just leave a comment here by midnight on Thursday, August 26th.
Up for grabs:
A signed copy of PRINCESS FOR HIRE and a swag pack with bookmarks (some of them signed!) from a ton of great authors, including Lindsey herself, Amy Brecount-White, Saundra Mitchell, Christie Raedeke, Angie Frazier, Leah Cypress, and more!
C’mon, look at that book, all pink and sparkly and adorable, you know you want it!!!