In July, my debut novel, MEET ME UNDER THE STARS will be publishing and I cannot be more excited. As we get closer to my publication date, I wanted to do some “Teaser Tuesday” posts to paint a picture of how my book came to be.
Today I’m talking about my female main character, Charlie.
Who is she?
She’s got a DIY show on television—but the ratings are tanking and she's on the verge of getting fired.
She’s just lost her sister to the same hereditary condition that took their mom—which means, she could have it, too.
She’s still in love with the British ex-boyfriend who she ghosted three years ago.
And now she has to work with him to set up a memorial scholarship in her sister’s memory, thanks to the stipulations outlined in her sister’s will.
I mean, forcing exes to work together? What could go wrong?
Charlie wasn’t always like this. Originally in the early, early, EARLY drafts, Charlie was an unhappy mess. What I thought was coming across as a strong woman turned out to be someone who was bitter and spiteful and not well liked AT ALL.
It’s okay for you not to like a character at the start of the book. The key is that in the end, we turn a corner and cheer on the characters as they grow and change. Unfortunately, that wasn’t happening with the original plot and I needed to make big changes.
So what was it like to make a huge change to my character?
Incredibly difficult—especially when every CP and Beta reader said, “eh…” when it came to her likability and her arc, I knew I had no choice. So I had to step away for a bit and reevaluate my character. What did I want her to learn? What did I want readers to experience? And the funny thing is…at first I didn’t even have an answer to those questions myself.
“I want her to be liked” wasn’t enough.
I ended up scrapping a lot of what I wrote—which pained me. But in the end, I have a much stronger character who I think, is a ton of fun and better understood. Her occupation has morphed (from teacher...to YouTube personality...to DIY show host) and that alone, had a huge impact on the story--going from someone who might get her own show to someone who has it and is on the verge of losing it.
Her friendships changed, too. She went from being friends with Gwen (the character who is dead) to being sisters and even hating--downright refusing--to do what Gwen's will instructors her to do.
The biggest change?
She went from being friends with Nate--the male main character--to being exes, which turned this romance novel from friends-to-lovers into a 2nd chance at romance.
Needless to say, the impact was huge and it benefited the story in so many ways. She went from a bitter and unlikable character to someone who was dealing with her demons that you’d root for in the end.
Next week I’ll tell you all about Nate and bust the myth that he’s based on a real person.