Thursday, June 12, 2014
LET YOUR CHARACTERS LIVE THROUGH YOU ~ BY RITA KARNOPP
To create exciting strong scenes – make sure they vary from quiet to loud. Lackluster to exciting. Emotional to in-control. Highs to lows. Happy to sad. Yet, they all must fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Everything should snap into place and fit – nothing should stick out at odd angles. Every part of the story should contribute and move the story forward, making it complete.
I don’t know about you, but I like to put myself in my character’s body, living the scene with his/her baggage, experience, flaws, and attributes. Do the situations or challenges feel ‘real’? What doesn’t feel believable? You will know what needs changing by running your scenes through your mind like a movie – you are the character – living, breathing, and experiencing each scene you’ve created.
You’ll find yourself rewriting - adding spontaneity from the character you’ve become. You’ll make changes that transition the story better. Step-by-step, you’ll feel, hear, touch, taste, and see yourself in the scenes of your character. Do you believe them? Did you miss any of the senses? Add them in and you’ll be surprised how this will improve your story.
If a scene feels confusing or uncomfortable – fix them. Never leave them in hopes the reader won’t notice – believe me, they will. Add deep internal emotion and allow your characters to have flaws that hinder their goals . . . making them realize they must change to have what they need or want by the end of the book.
You should laugh, cry, and get angry if that’s what the character experiences. If the words you’ve written don’t evoke the emotion or reaction you want . . . rewrite . . . rewrite . . . and rewrite until you find yourself crying . . . laughing . . . and ticked with the world if need be. If you don’t feel it when you write it – the reader won’t feel it when they read it. It’s as simple as that.
Grab your reader right from the beginning . . . and don’t let go until you type ‘the end.’
Whispering Wind ~ Montana Territory 1865 – Pregnant and alone, Tsopo, Wind, leaves her Blackfoot people to save her lifelong friend, Kom-zit-api, An Honest Man, from untrue accusations.
Kom-zit-api finds Wind and asks her to be his sits-beside-him wife. Before she can give him an answer, he dies saving her from Crow warriors. Trapper, Jake McKinney hears her cries and finds her down on a ledge, birthing a child that has arrived too soon. Now Wind finds herself at a crossroads.
Ashamed and confused, she accepts McKinney’s offer to go with him to the Big Belt Mountains, where his Confederate war buddies are prospecting for gold.
They meet brothers, Tucker and Alexander Walsh on the trail. McKinney, with his valuable bales of furs and buffalo robes, and the Walsh brothers, with their four wagons of supplies, strike a partnership. They’ll start up a general store for miners on the east side of the Missouri River near Diamond City.
Wind reveals possession of a gold nugget the size of her thumb. Her father gave it to her, and she knows where in Confederate Gulch it was found. The men make her an equal partner in their business they are now calling Whispering Wind.
Nothing like her peaceful village, Wind finds herself among ramshackle clusters of tents, lean-tos, and crude log cabins. The main street is a knee-deep mud trail mixed with horse manure, lined with make-shift stores, hotels, rowdy saloons, and a single assayer’s office. Wind aspires to find love and happiness where greed rules actions above common sense. Dressed like a white woman, hiding her part Blackfeet blood, she faces being one of a few women in a wild, lawless mining territory. Who can she trust? Can she survive where so many men have failed?
Summer Timber Wolf, Nii’ówa Ómahkapi'si, is disenchanted with life in general. Ashamed of being Blackfeet, yet broke and alone, she goes to Browning, the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana she swore she’d never return to or call home.
Angry with her decision to quit college, her parents give her the task of caring for her eighty-year-old grandmother, Kimi’Aki, Secret Woman. It sounds like an easy alternative to getting a job.
By the time Summer realizes this means she’ll be living in the mountains in the ways of the old ones, in a tipi, with no more modern support greater than a boiling pot, it’s too late to go back.
In this primitive setting she realizes there’s more to being Blackfeet than just being called Indian. Although she fights anything to do with her ancestry, she is quickly caught up in a world of whispering spirits and a journey that teaches we must understand and find pride in where we’ve come from . . . in order to know where we’re going.
Multi-published author Rita Karnopp knew at a very young age she wanted to be a writer – and penned her first story at age sixteen. She is drawn to the history of the Native American and strives to bring alive the authenticity of a time past. Whether writing suspense, Indian historicals, or contemporary romance, Rita enjoys bringing excitement and the enduring power of love to her stories.
Rita currently resides in Montana with her husband and their loveable Cockapoo named Gema. When she isn’t reading, writing or doing research, Rita enjoys making dream catchers, gold panning, crystal or sapphire digging, rafting, fishing, canoeing, and spending time with her children and grandchildren.