Oh, I am so glad this week has arrived! Those of us here at the Ball have known for months how awesome Deb Linda’s IN A FIX is and now we can finally share our excitement with the rest of the world! (Just check out my Goodreads review for more gushing!)
I read IN A FIX over the summer when I was in desperate need of a little distraction and let me tell you: IN A FIX delivered! Deb Linda has crafted the perfect escape in her story of aura-adapter Ciel. When she isn’t switching auras, Ciel is balancing the men in her life—as Deb Joanne explained yesterday, they are a lively group—and believe me, there is NEVER a dull moment!
Which brings me to my question for Deb Linda:
As writers (and readers!) we all know how tough it can be to keep track of our characters movements and motivations, especially when the pacing gets fast and furious. From the first aura-adapting scene between Ciel, Billy and Mark, I was in awe of your ability to manage the constant switcheroos–AND to do it in such a smooth way that the reader never gets confused or lost. I’d love to know how you kept all the changes straight in YOUR head as you were writing that scene and all the scenes that involved similar levels of switching back and forth.
Thank you! I can’t tell you how relieved I am to hear it worked, because there were days when I was pulling my hair out over it. *grin* It’s tough enough to come up non-repetitive, non-confusing dialogue tags–and action–when your characters stay themselves, but when they can switch identities in the blink of an eye, it can make you a little crazy. I depended a lot on my truly amazing critique partners and beta readers to let me know if things got too mixed up. And, of course, my agent and editor helped keep me on the straight and narrow path of clarity, too.
What I tried to do was come up with character “tells” — things that would let the reader know who a character was without having to state it outright. For instance, Billy likes to call Ciel “cuz” (because their moms were sorority sisters) and Mark often reverts back to her childhood nickname, “Howdy” (from Howdy Doody — she has freckles). Billy often tugs on Ciel’s hair, and Mark habitually ruffles it. Stuff like that.
When Ciel is projecting a different aura, she still thinks of herself “I,” but might make note of the physical parts that are different, like “my new, gravitationally challenged bosom” or “my liver-spotted hand.” Just little reminders to the reader (and me!) of who Ciel is at any given moment.
I also think my background in theater helps when it comes to “stage business” — what the characters are doing at any given point. Even when the focus is not on them, you still have to be aware, whether or not it’s not stated on the page, of where they are, how they’re holding themselves, what they might be fiddling with, etc. That way, when the focus does shift back to them, you’ve maintained continuity. (If that makes sense…) I think it prevents too many of those “WTF?” moments on the part of the readers. I hope so, anyway.
The only times I was actually confused myself while writing were the times Ciel was confused in the story, and I figured that maybe added to the authenticity. (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.) But things usually cleared up for me about the same time they did for her — one of the advantages of writing in first person. *grin*
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Three cheers for Deb Linda and her compulsively-readable debut! Do yourselves a favor, friends, and find yourself IN A FIX as soon as possible!
To our readers who write, how do you keep track of your character’s every move?
And all week Deb Linda is giving away signed ARCs of IN A FIX to one of our commenters (US and Canada only, please) so be sure and leave a comment to today’s post to be in the running!