The Process of Fraying
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Communicating with Characters and Giveaway Information

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Jess Woods | 109 comments Mod
Communicating with Characters (The Process of Fraying) and Giveaway Information:

I’ve always been an avid reader. From an early age, I was fascinated with story-telling, the combination of words on a page and their effect, and character development. I always wondered how authors got to know their characters so well that I, as the reader, felt I knew them (and sometimes I felt I was them). I assumed it was just by imagining them—writing them. When I began the draft for The Process of Fraying, I wasn’t quite prepared for the organic character development that occurred. And what I mean by that is that Violet, my main character, helped shape herself in the most random moments—when I was far from my computer and not writing at all.

I distinctly remember the first time Violet spoke to me. While it certainly wasn't audible, it was persistent and pesky. I was sitting in a church service listening to my pastor-husband (who's very engaging, by the way) when a question ran through my mind. It was a bit jarring as the question wasn't my thought or feeling; it felt foreign. I tried to ignore it, but it darted through my head over and over again until I finally stepped out of service to write it down. This action unleashed a flood of sentences and was later turned into an entire scene. And the question? Well, it shaped my entire novel and, in turn, Violet herself.

In no way do I mean to imply that writing isn't work because it definitely is. It requires a great deal of focus, discipline, and muddling through when the words simply won't come. Authors get to know their characters through imagination and research, and both of these require work. Scenes aren't often going to fall onto a page fully formed, but sometimes they do. Experiences like the one above are my absolute favorite thing about writing because that's exactly what happens—without explanation or effort, a scene is before you. It's exhilarating because it feels like a memory surfacing, only you know it's not your memory. Sometimes a scent, a phrase, an image, a song, etc. triggers these communicating-with-character moments. Other times it's entirely out of the blue.

I had many such experiences like this throughout the writing of Fraying, and with each one, I began to recognize Violet more and more. By the end of the book, I truly felt like I knew her, like we could sit down and carry on a conversation. I hope that carries over to readers because I want them to know Violet too.

The writing process is different for every author and for every book. To my knowledge, there's no sure way to make a character come to life like Violet did for me, but I think it requires a willingness to listen, to stop what you are doing and give characters attention.

So, question time:

Is there a book you can think of where you really connected with a character—where the character felt real to you? I’d love to hear from you below!

GIVEAWAY INFO: At the end of the week, anyone participating in the posts either on Facebook or Goodreads will be entered into a drawing at the rate of 1 entry for each initial comment on a post. You have 3 chances to win. Prizes will include: a signed copy of my book (2 total) and a $20 giftcard to Thank You Books, an indie book store located in Birmingham, AL (don't worry; they ship).

message 2: by Geneva (new) - added it

Geneva Robertson | 3 comments I think a lot of characters talk to me. I love Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, her headstrong ways and her difficult life trying to feed a lot of people after the civil war. She wanted to do things her way; in many ways she was a feminist before her times; however, she is a contradiction because she was a spoiled brat before the war. Also, I love Scott in To Kill a Mockingbird. I can see Scott as an innocent little girl growing up and learning the tough lessons of life. Last, I love Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games trilogy. She had a tough life and it never seemed to get better, but she had to learn to trust! (What a lesson for her! She was an interesting character as well. There are many interesting characters in literature to discuss in one post, when I could discuss one character in one page per character.

Jess Woods | 109 comments Mod
These are all great examples. I, too, appreciate their characterization!

message 4: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda (drpowell) | 376 comments Connecting to a character? Hmmm. That is hard. Throughout life I have related to the stream of consciousness of Scout (TKAM), the angst of Bella (Twilight), and the anger of Elphaba. I have understood the safety and escape of books like Francie (ATGiB) and sobbed like Anne with an E. If I really stopped to think about it some really healthy normalization of my own imperfect self came from books.

Jess Woods | 109 comments Mod
Amanda, love that response. I rarely don't connect with a character these days. And Anne with an E...yes! I will always love her!

message 6: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda (grannylovestoread) | 132 comments Some characters have issues that are similar. Reading how they cope is sometimes helpful.

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