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Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Don't Fence Me In

Thought I was channeling Bob Hope or John Wayne? Not quite. I got the title by listening to my characters. Now you think I've dropped my beans. Maybe. But hey, sometimes listening rather than talking is hard--and helps you reap the biggest rewards.

Why would I first, listen to my characters and second, what does it have to do with fencing?

It's like this. Almost all of the authors I've talked to are intimately acquainted with their characters. They know, down to the lint in his or her pockets, what the character is doing/feeling/thinking. For instance, Logan Malone, from Right Where I Need to Be, always forgets his wallet in his truck but is never without a comb to fix his hair. Oh, and he has blue jean lint in his pockets. He's not sure why, but he does.

Another thing about Logan... he loves to talk. When I started work on Right, he informed me he wanted a forever kind of love, but nothing tacky. He'd been there, done that with the hinky, kinky type relationships. He wanted to settle down. So as his author, I listen.

Now you're probably wondering if I have these lengthy conversations with my characters. You'd be right. I have journal upon journal with notes and things my characters tell me. Logan gave me details as to what type of woman he wanted to settle down with. Funny, the woman he described was nothing like Cass. When I mentioned her, he scoffed...and then got real quiet.

"Well, if she's mine, then don't fence me in."

You have the exact same confused look I had when he said this. He'd been plain and blunt, but when offered a new option, the boundaries weren't so important. Stunned, I considered his reaction. And you guessed it, I listened to the things he wasn't saying. The idea of a woman who was more or less opposite of his predetermined "must have" piqued his interest.

When it came time to tell his story, I did exactly as he asked and didn't fence him in. I threw them together and sat back to watch the fireworks. And boy were there not only sparks, but fire, scorch marks, and a few burns. But the idea of not fencing him in helped when it came to the love scenes as well. I write predominantly erotic works. Right is hot, no doubt. I think my screen still has the melted spots.

What did I do? You're thinking there had to be instances where I needed to rein him in, you know and tell him, hey this isn't one of those books?

Not really. I let him run. Being with Cass and expressing his emotions were enough. I'm pretty sure he'd have run in any direction I'd let him. What man doesn't occasionally want to press the limits? I think it was that he wanted me to give him the freedom to set his own fences. Oh sure, there is that option to let him take things into erotica territory. It happens all too often in romance--make it as hot as possible, shock the reader and lose the sensuality. I'm not saying that all erotic books do, but in the case of Right, Logan wanted to keep it hot but sweet.

So, I cut him loose to do as he pleased and I'm not sorry. Logan got what he wanted in more ways than one and I got a great story out of it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing Logan and Cass's story. And as I go, I leave you with this gem of wisdom: don't fence yourself or your characters in. You never know what you'll get out of it.

: Thanks for enjoying this work by Wendi Zwaduk. By day she’s a SAHM of one son, two dogs, and two cats, but at night she lets her inner muse run wild and writes tales of love won, lost, and won again. If she’s not at her computer, she can be found at her local dirt tracks cheering for the Late Model cars or haunting the local library in search of new authors. Check out her blog and website


Kathye Quick said...

I've loved you from Captain Marvelous on. Your writing hits a chord and your style is remarkable,

I have to get all of these

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Thank you Kathye. I wrote from the heart with Logan peering over my shoulder.