Callow youth, mother, crone … where do you think you are on your journey through life? Are you the same as you were in your 20s? I’m certainly not.
Are you even the same person you were last January? Looking back, can you see the changes you’ve made to how you approach life and your relationship to the people and things around you?
It’s a question I ask myself every time I sit down to write a novel. How can this character change for good (or bad)? If my readers are to feel good at the end—happy with the happy ending—the character cannot stay who she or he was. I have a long pre-writing process, that involves a deep dive into the character.
In my new book, Winter in Promise Cove, I wrote, “intelligent, but stuck retired woman who needs to accept herself,” for my heroine’s initial character arc. Fiona, the heroine, isn’t someone we’ve seen much of in Promise Cove, so I needed to develop a background. As soon as I realized she had an ex-husband who had dumped her for a trophy wife, and a son who’d taken his father’s side, it began to make sense.
What woman wouldn’t doubt herself under those circumstances?
Now I needed to figure out a way to put her in the pressure cooker of events so that she’d be forced to face the need to change. When she agrees to be a fake fiancée, circumstances force her to take stock of the qualities she did have and do a re-assessment.
How about you? January can be a time of reflection, the weather cold and dark if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, a lazy sunny day if you’re in the Southern. It might be just the time to take a look at the qualities you possess in a new light.
Then make that assessment a catalyst for change for 2023.