Friday, August 10, 2007

The Familiar Comes Forward by CJ Maxx

Your background will creep into your story. When I started writing IN THE ARMS OF A WARRIOR, my intention was to merely state that she came from a family of warriors. After the first crisis where do I send her--back to her family. Not because of the crisis but because her brother's coming back from the war. It worked and contributed to the resolution of her immediate problem.

I spent twelve years of my life in Special Forces. Obviously, that would be her family background. What I didn't realize was the depth of involvement of Special Forces in the story. It's not a war story, it's a love story.

You know, I couldn't make Susan Ambrose a girly-girl. With her background some of those warrior genes had to influence her. But she's still feminine and a desirable woman. I just didn't know I'd build this toughness into her until I started developing her character.

I guess this is the time to talk about my writing style. I work from a vague outline. I know that you should work everything out beforehand and write a detailed outline. And, I've done that in the past but realized quickly that I ignore it. The story changes as I type it. The details flow from my mind through my fingers when I'm writing. I don't know exactly how the story is going to end until I type the end.

The main male character, David Wilson, does not come across as a warrior or even a good romantic hero in the beginning. As I developed his character I had to balance the negatives with some warrior traits. Again, it came from his interactions with her warrior family.

When another crisis arises, not directly involving their love life, Susan reaches into the active Special Forces community through her father to help prepare David for what he'll face it the near future. Then the story builds on that relationship in the chapter that finds him in great danger, in a war zone.

It wasn't until I neared the end of the story that I realized what Susan really wanted in a man. You have to read the story to see how that happens.

They say you should write what you know. Well, everyone can't know everything, but when you are developing your story or your characters it's helpful to fall back on the familiar, your background.

CJ Maxx


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