I am a firm believer in the power of writers. Together we can come up with so many different plots, characters, ideas for saving the world, ideas for ending the world and just plain fun stories. There is something exhilarating about spending a few hours with writers or reader just chatting. I'm convinced that people who read regularly and the writers who provide books for them have a way of looking at the world that is just plain fun.
If I sound bubbly it's because I just spent a fun weekend at RomCon14 last week. This was the fourth time I attended the convention and it never fails to energize me. As a writer it makes me feel good about what I do as I chat with readers who always have interesting questions, observations and ideas for writers.
My first session was as a teacher, presenting a class for RomCon U on characters. A great question I got from a student was what to do about characters who start out as secondary people and then seem to take over the story. My character Freeda Ferguson attempted to do that to my heroine in my new book, Dead Man's Rules. She was such a fun, fresh person I couldn't help but give her a story of her own, which I am doing in Dead Man's Treasure. And that was what I advised to my questioner. Go with it and give him his lead and see what sort of story journey he takes you on. She said readers are already interested in him, so I predicted good things should come as a result.
Next, came an opportunity to create a character for a story in the Build A Villain workshop. I got the opportunity to team with fellow TWRP (The Wild Rose Press) author J. L. Wilson on coming up with a devilish fun bad girl with few redeeming values but with a way with men. We also developed a woman who was equal to the challenge of vanquishing our villain in a darn good plot. All in all, the creative spirit that came to life as readers and writers participated in the creative process was fun to experience. Everyone had ideas and everyone contributed. One person would come up with an idea and then the next would add, and so on.
But the day of creativity was just getting going. Later I got the chance to learn to crochet. (more on that at a later time) Then came an evening of book signing, where I had the opportunity to sit next to the great Heather Graham. What an opportunity! Naturally I had to pick her brain and pose the same question I have often been asked when I teach my classes on characters. Where do you get them? As the best selling author of more than 100 books, she is a great person to query. And her answer was so simple. People. Like so many other writers she is an observer. She pays attention to the folks around her. She said she often used to watch her children and their friends and figure out who might end up with who, based on their personalities. What a great idea. While I often watch people too, I found I might have a new way to people watch -- thinking about personalities that match and those that don't, putting couples together.
And that got me to thinking about my own characters too. I'm going to be watching them a lot more carefully. Who will end up with who? And why? It will be a lot of fun to find out.
So today, I am giving a toast to the writers and readers from RomCon 2014. Thanks for the fun and thanks for the inspiration!