Tag Archives: Jane Eyre

We Are Family

Happy Friday everyone!! Casey here.

One of the fun things about being a writer is breathing life into your characters. Imagining a back story, figuring out their goals, their appearance, and so much more. But my all time favorite act is creating the hero and heroine’s family and friends.

Often times, I don’t have to think too hard. They present themselves rather quickly and can be scene-stealers if I let them. Early on, I usually know if the heroine has siblings and whether they get along. Or maybe her parents were overbearing and smothering. Perhaps, they weren’t there at all and she’s been raised by someone else. Same goes with friends, colleagues and pets. My stories have them all!

Coming soon to a story near you!

When I think of my favorite books and television shows, I can’t think of a single one where the main characters don’t have family or friends in their lives. Often times, their loved ones can push their buttons like no one else. And on the flip side, no one understands them better than anyone else.

Imagine how dull and boring Little Women would have been if Jo didn’t have her sisters. Or how lifeless Stephanie Plum’s adventures would be without Lula or Grandma Mazur. Even Ebenezer Scrooge, super curmudgeon, has his faithful nephew Fred to anchor him to his past through his beloved sister Belle.

On the other hand, the lack of a solid support system is just as telling and can define the character’s actions and reactions. There are a lot of orphans in books – Oliver Twist, Cinderella, Harry Potter, James Bond, Heidi, Clark Kent, Jane Eyre, and Frodo Baggins – to name only a small fraction!

Granted all of the characters I mentioned rose above their orphanhood and went on to perform good and heroic deeds. But none of them did it alone (thank you Ron Weasly and Hermione Granger).

Gather round family and friends!

And that brings me back to family and friends (aka secondary characters). For me, secondary characters are just as important. Like in real life, we would all be lonely if we had no friends or family. We are social beings by nature. Even if your character is mostly a loner, there is usually someone (either human or animal) in his or her life.

If you need inspiration, <ahem>, borrow bits and pieces of personality from your family and friends. Now that we’re in the full swing of the holiday season, there are more people than ever around. If you don’t mind the crowds, people watch!

Life is boring without friends. . . and wine!

So remember, when you’re creating your world, populate it with more than just the hero and heroine. Otherwise, all you’ll have is an empty and lifeless world.

Who are your favorite supporting characters? And without naming names, have you ever “borrowed” traits from friends and family?

Read, Rinse, Repeat

Hello, Scribe Groupies, Susannah here.     

I love to read.  Every writer I know loves to read.  I don’t know about you, but I just can’t read everything I want to.   

I look through the Book Page every month and make a list of the books that look new and interesting — authors I haven’t read before, or unfamiliar stories that intrigue me.  Some I buy, some I put on reserve at my town’s amazing public library.   I usually only get through a couple of those a month, sometimes more if I can get the audio version and listen while I drive or go about my household duties.  

More of my reading time is taken up with single title authors I enjoy and with series.  Since I’m in the middle of a lot of them, there’s usually a new one coming out at any particular time.  I’m fiercely loyal.  Even if the series has lost its steam (usually by around Book 5 or 6) I’ll read the series through to the finale.  I always have hope that maybe, just maybe, the story will turn around, and I just have to know how it ends.   (Not that all series deteriorate — Tess Gerritsen is a prime example.  Her Rizzoli and Isles novels have gotten better and better now that the characters are so complex)

The thing about these books is: I most likely will never read them again. Now that I’m a writer, I have to spend more of my time, well, writing, rather than reading.  Sometimes I have to put myself on a reading diet in order to get my writing done.  With my limited reading time, and new stuff coming out demanding my attention, once through most books is enough.

But there are some books I come back to.   I read Jane Austen’s novels every couple of years.  Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte).  Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier).  Far From the Madding Crowd (Thomas Hardy — a relation?  Possibly way back!).  The Turn of the Screw (Henry James — I just can’t figure out if the ghost is real or if the heroine is imagining it.  Every time I read it I come to a different conclusion).  There are some more modern books too:  anything by Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels (they’re the same person).  Stephen King’s short stories are so readable, so well done, I love them far more than the full length novels.  These are the stories that have stuck with me, that I turn to when I need to ground myself.  These are the works that made me want to be a writer in the first place, and inspire me to be a better writer now.  

Chime in and tell us about the books you love enough to read over and over, and how they’ve influenced you and your writing.   See you next week!