Lettin’ The Scene Roll—With Bonnie Parker

This week we’re writing about protagonists, in terms of conflict and drama. Do we make choices for them? Or let our characters lead the way?

As a writer, I’m a mixture of a plotter and a seat-of-my-pants drafter. Considering I write historical fiction (and I don’t want to piss people off who study history…) I try to align with historical fact as much as possible. The beauty with BECOMING BONNIE is not much is known about Bonnie Parker’s life prior to meeting Clyde Barrow. I was able to pull in facts where I could, but then drop Bonn in various scenarios and settings…

A church

A speakeasy

A jail

… to name a few, to let Bonn’s character shine. Once the scene comes alive in my head, the rest of the shebang (dialogue, emotions, movement) takes on a life of its own. Bonnie runs the show (just ask Clyde).

Now, I can’t listen to music while I’m writing, but I’ll often listen to music while folding laundry, walking the dog, going for a run, et al. And country music is my jam. Why? It’s SO dang good at building a scene and telling a story. It’s inspiring.

I heard this song recently: Lettin’ The Night Roll by Justin Moore.

Hit play. Close your eyes. Just listen. Let those characters come alive in your head. You’ll see what I mean.

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Jenni L. Walsh spent her early years ​chasing around cats, dogs, and chickens in Philadelphia's countryside, before dividing time between a soccer field and a classroom at Villanova University. She put her marketing degree to good use as an advertising copywriter, zip-code hopping with her husband to DC, NYC, NJ, and not surprisingly, back to Philly. There, Jenni's passion for words continued, adding author to her resume. She now balances her laptop with a kid on each hip, and a four-legged child at her feet. BECOMING BONNIE (Tor Forge/Macmillan, 5/9/2017) is her debut novel that tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s. SIDE BY SIDE, telling Bonnie and Clyde's crime spree story, will be released in the summer of 2018. Please learn more about Jenni's books at jennilwalsh.com.

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