Today, I have as my guest on the blog, Natasha Deen, author of WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, as part of the new Partners In Crime Tours virtual book! Welcome, Natasha!
Seeing with the Mind’s Eye: Creating Characters – Natasha Deen
In fiction, as in life, personalities are all about the Big Three: intention, motivation, and agenda. Oh, I know none of us likes to hear we have an agenda, but really, it’s just a word. It’s the motivation and intention that makes it destructive or constructive.
Consider: you see a child wandering in the mall who is obviously lost and you take him to the customer service of the mall, that’s the Big Three at work.
Agenda: bring the child to safety.
Motivation: because someone is going frantic looking for the child/because it’s the right thing to do.
Another way to think about it is this: our emotions (intention) prompt our motivations which then manifest in our actions. It’s the same with fictional characters.
They want something, badly. In WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, Binda wants—more than anything else in the world—to find her boss. Why? Because she cares about him, because she thinks something horrible will happen if she doesn’t get to him, and because her job’s on the line.
Now, here’s the other thing with reality. Well, two things really: the thing we least need or want to happen usually does, and that in trying to do the right thing, stuff usually get worse before it gets better.
So, what’s the last thing Binda needs? A love complication.
And even better, I decided that yummy hiccup, Corin Hawthorne, should come in the form of the cop who’s investigating (and who also happens to be her boss’s brother). But how much worse can it get—I mean, love isn’t too bad a complication…is it?
Naw, not really, not if you put your best foot forward…but what if Binda kinda, sorta, always loses her mind in a crisis…she tries to do the right thing, but it goes hilariously wrong (Every Time)….like the time she thought there was an intruder in the hallway and tried to be proactive and take charge, and hit the bad guy with pepper spray…only to find out said “bad guy” was really her grandmother.
That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. She’s not stupid or superficial, she just isn’t the person you want behind you during a crisis (well, maybe you would want her behind you—far behind you, and blocked by bullet-proof glass).
The next thing with characters is to put them in bad situations that only get worse—kind of like real life: you decide to volunteer for the bake sale and suddenly, you’re the HEAD of the bake sale and dealing with crazy Mildred who keeps re-pricing her cookies from $0.25 to $1.25 (this actually happened to someone I knew…even worse, the crazy Mildred was my relative. Oi!).
But back to Binda. Let’s make sure the way her boss has gone missing raises no flags, so the cops don’t really buy it. And let’s make Corin’s relationship with his brother exceedingly complicated, and let’s throw in a gangster, a sex fetish convention, a bulldog who loves jazz music and let’s—well, let’s toss it all together and make Binda deal with it.
Because she will.
She’s just that kind of girl.
She’ll take every lump, bump, and hump (snicker) and come out on top (no pun intended), even if it does leave her hoping that what happens in Vegas, really does stay in Vegas.
Find other stops on the tour here.