Now I have a great post from Deborah, to answer a question I asked!
Have my readers influenced any of my choices for Lucky and the gang,
regarding story line, characterization, etc.?
I’ve learned so much from my readers. And boy, do they have opinions! One told me Lucky wouldn’t be caught dead in turquoise. I sort of agreed—although I have nothing against the color and wear it often myself, Lucky’s a bold color gal. And turquoise isn’t really a C-level color. And, funny enough, this casual comment made me think a bit harder about what Lucky does wear. She collects vintage designers duds, so we know she’s pretty stylin’ in her own way. But she also dons more casual attire on occasion and I’ve had some fun with both, letting her personality shine through.
That’s the thing about writing, you want to show rather than tell, and clothing choices (and colors) can be a fun way to amplify personality traits in characters.
For instance, when Miss P, Lucky’s acerbic assistant, makes a life-changing choice in dating a much younger man, her wardrobe reflects the new, bolder woman. Which makes me wonder: If I ditch my huge assortment of yoga pants for something a bit more upscale, would that work for me as well? Not that I need a man—I’m solid on that front—but the bolder bit might be nice.
Probably the most profound thing I’ve learned from readers is what they really respond to. In each book there is usually a scene that I think I’ve overwritten, too much emotion, too much purple prose, too much...everything. Almost to the point the scenes make me cringe.
And to a one, those are scenes I get reader letters about. Not that they want them taken out, or they think I should be ashamed. NO—they LOVE THEM!
And I learned something very powerful and profound: the emotion drives the story. Nothing else. You’d think I would’ve known this. And, I’m sure I did, just not in quite the way I do now. So Lucky became, deeper, more well rounded, more vulnerable.... more human. And I love that about her.
Funny thing is, when I first wrote Lucky’s story in WANNA GET LUCKY? I thought I was writing a romance. I threw a dead body in because I was too stupid to figure out how to keep the narrative drive going without a mystery. So, imagine my surprise when my publisher wanted to market the books as mysteries. At their heart they will always be love stories. Relationship stories. And not just male/female relationships, but all of them: parent/child, friends/colleagues, all of them. And my readers agree. Not once ever have I received an email asking about the mystery.
Nope, everyone wants to know who Lucky is going to end up with. Teddie? Jean-Charles? Dane? Someone new? And what’s going to happen with Mona and the Big Boss, Miss P and the Beautiful Jeremy Whitlock.... And Detective Romeo.
So, now, and going forward, the emphasis will be more on the relationships (where my heart as a reader and author lies) and less on dead people.
Oh, and who Lucky picks? She’s given me a hint...but she’s asked me not to tell.
And, readers, please keep the notes coming. I love to hear your feedback. Who knows, maybe you can talk Lucky into making the right choice.