Welcoming back Breathless Press author Rebekah Lewis today. Thanks for stopping by!
Heroes are Stubborn Sometimes
Every so often authors tell you their stories came to them upon the spring breeze and then magic flowed through their fingertips thus creating this fantastical piece of awesome that transcends space and time. Okay, maybe that happens on occasion, and I do have characters that are easy to write as they are very vocal, but not all characters want to share their feelings. Sometimes they are just plain stubborn. Sometimes the hero of your story is nothing short of an A-hole that wants nothing more than to see you suffer as they have suffered in their fictional past.
The hero of Under the Satyr Moon was so stubborn that the entire series was created as a means to keep myself writing around his refusal to cooperate. Ariston’s book was going to be a standalone novel. And when he gave me trouble, I started digging into his back story and Pan’s book came to mind. When I got the bright idea to make Pan the Jersey Devil, I told Ariston to suck it and wrote Pan’s book first instead. And then when I finished, and it was time to return to Ariston, I was met with the same resistance.
“Why do you hate me?” I would ask my work in progress, staring at a bright, white, blank page with a blinking cursor. What do you do when your character doesn’t want to tell you his story?
Short answer: throw more obstacles at him until you get him so annoyed that he starts mouthing off and digging himself into a pit in front of his heroine. Let him get bit by animals/demigods. Let the gods smite him. And let other characters call him on everything he is refusing to do. Until he gets so fed up that he has no choice but to cooperate.
Miraculously, it worked. Once the character realized he was coming across as a dodo he got it together and did what he was supposed to, mostly.
Mind you, I love Ariston. He’s one of my most honest, and overall good, characters I have written. But he knows he was a pain in the rear from day one. A lot of his scenes had to be worked on in revisions because the first draft was not going to ever be finished if I waited on him to work with me. I am a plotter for the most part, but I only plot main actions and events and let the characters get there on their own to see how they react and play off of that. But it goes to show it won’t always be so easy. I had to come up with methods around it, and hopefully it will be helpful to other writers who read this post that have similar issues.
- Throw obstacles at him until he reacts and gives you something to work with (as stated above.) Proved the most effective in this case.
- Write from other character POVs more often in the first draft. This way the story still keeps its flow and you don’t get stumped. Upon revision, build on the hero’s POV. See if you can take some of the Heroine’s POV and rewrite it from the Hero’s. You have the scene there, but you are seeing it from a new perspective. It’s a little more work, but sometimes when you do this the scene is much stronger in the end as you are not trying to build the scene anymore, just the character.
- Jump to later parts of the book. If you are OCD like me, and like to write in a linear, beginning to end fashion, this is not an easy task. When I finally called Ariston some very ugly words, stopped a third of the way in, and wrote the last 60 pages of the book, it helped a lot. I understood where I needed to get Ariston in terms of character development by the end because I had it written out. I knew where he was going before he knew it himself, and was able to whip him into shape when writing the middle of the book.
- I didn’t do it for this book, but when having trouble with character voice in my creative writing class we would write scenes not in our story with characters they may or may not interact with. Kind of like deleted scenes or flashbacks, etc. Make him respond. Make him react. Get him to express himself until you can get the feel of him for the book. Don’t discard these, as you can make them into some fun blog posts or special material for readers at a later time if you want.
And there it is. Does anyone else have characters that don’t want to do as they are told, or have they experienced it before? Do you do anything different to get around it?
Rebekah Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. She is an award-winning cover artist for digital publishers, and enjoys every minute of it when not immersed in a world of satyrs and Greek gods. Always feeling the need to be productive, she can be found creating something whether with words or images, or with arts and crafts. She resides in Savannah, GA with her cat, Bagheera.
If you would like to follow Rebekah on social media or contact via email, use the following information:
Under the Satyr Moon a curse was wrought, and under the same moon shall it be reversed…
…if the Fates allow.
A freelance photography job goes downhill fast when Lily Anders’ boyfriend dumps her and disappears from the campsite, leaving her stranded in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Feeling lost, heartbroken, and afraid, Lily follows a mysterious melody through the wilderness. She never would have guessed the source of the music would reveal that legendary figures of Greek mythology really existed, and she could be one of them.
Ever since he was cursed, Ariston has only wanted one thing—to be human again. He has searched the globe for a nymph to free him, but over three thousand years of failure has pushed him into a life of solitude. Ariston believes he’s finally found the salvation he’s longed for when he catches Lily spying on him in the forest. Unfortunately, he has to convince her to like him first.
What seems to be the Fates bringing them together in time for the Satyr Moon proves to be an elaborate scheme with macabre intentions. Dionysus has sent Ariston’s estranged brother, Adonis, to ensure the curse cannot be broken, and nothing tosses cold water over the flame of seduction like a twin seeking vengeance.
“Oh God. Oh God. I’m hallucinating, probably have a fever, and I need to get out of here now.” She nodded as she said the last word as if it finalized her babbling, confirming an inner argument of some sort.
“I don’t think you’re suffering any ailments. You can keep gawking at me all you like. Although, I would prefer if you looked a little higher than my feet.” Much more impressive, that. At least, no one had ever complained before.
She made a derogatory noise in the back of her throat. “Please tell me you’re some D&D nerd in a really well-made costume and you mean me no harm. Also, if you have a cell phone, I would really appreciate it if you don’t take my previous comment personally and let me borrow it for a moment.” Ah, well, that solved one of his concerns; if she had no phone, she couldn’t have sent evidence or contacted anyone about what she’d seen. Unless, of course, she had a camera stashed somewhere. I should probably frisk her to find out.
He crossed his arms. “This is not a costume.” Ariston narrowed his eyes, a thought occurring to him. “I didn’t sense you being attracted by my song like I did the blonde. Are you a magical being? Who are you? A deity? A demigoddess?” He was on to something there, but wasn’t sure what. Had she brought the freak thunderstorm the night before? There had been no sign of rain, yet rained it had. And hailed on top of it.
“Right… Maybe you should let me hold that phone I mentioned before. I think it could bring help for both of us.”
“I don’t have a phone on me. Where would I put it? In my leg hair?” He lifted a hoof and waved it in a counterclockwise motion. Brunette’s eyes widened once more. Why did everyone get all worked up over the hooves, but not the horns? Those mostly received a pffft reaction followed by a series of retorts about his nature of “horniness.” It’s not like he would start making goat noises and chewing on buttons. The only part of his anatomy of any real importance hung heavily between his legs, and that was as human as any mortal man. Except he liked to think he was better endowed.
“In your, uh, gun holster?” Brunette pointed to his panpipes.
“What about it?” Ariston asked.
“You asked where you would put a cellphone. There is a large pocket on your strappy purse thingy.” She nibbled her full bottom lip, an act that shot fire to his groin.
“It’s not a purse. How could you even say that? It’s very manly.”
“Uh huh. Of course.”
“It is.” The twinge of lust faded out as he noticed the blood spotted bandage across the palm of her hand. “How were you injured?” Ariston took an unconscious step toward her. He had medical supplies at the cabin. Though he healed at phenomenal speeds, his blood still made a mess when it flowed on the wrong side of his skin. He could patch her up in no time.
She glanced at her palm, almost surprised to see the bandage there. Then she shook her head and said, “Yeah, this is the weirdest conversation ever. Sorry, but…gotta dash.” She darted off in the opposite direction. As she sprinted away, stinging drops of water began to bombard his skin. Brunette had to be the one manipulating the rain, but how? What was she? It must be linked to her emotions somehow, and it made him wonder what had happened to provoke the furious assault from the elements the night before.
Ariston snapped out of his stupor and chased after her. “Hey, not so fast!” A thought started taking root in his mind. He’d been excited about her before, but if he was right… Gods, he couldn’t let her escape. Not if there was a chance.
Brunette was magical in nature, affecting the elements. The timing was too good to be true. Ariston had sought one of her kind for as long as he’d been a satyr, and if she turned out being a nymph, she was also his savior. Unfortunately, his salvation continued putting distance between them. She may have the upper hand in the rain, but he knew the forest well. He’d capture her like the legends of old, and she’d be his. Mine!
She had revealed herself to him. Perhaps not intentionally, yet she had. All he needed was Brunette to desire him enough to take him as a lover under the Satyr Moon. He smiled. Ariston was rusty when it came to true seduction, without the use of magic, but he enjoyed a challenge. He could be free, mortal, could finally have a family, grow old, and live a normal human life.