It’s another snow day here at kt lit, and though you’d think working from home would make that just about the same as any other work day, I’m also enjoying seeing Rexroth and wee Trixie about the house as well. Earlier this morning, I put on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for Trixie, and found myself singing along to the songs as the movie played in the next room. I always identified with Belle — not the beauty part, but the love of books.
Today, I was particularly struck by the lyric about the story she’s reading, “Here’s where she meets Prince Charming / But she won’t discover that it’s him / ’til Chapter Three!”
And I thought about some of the submissions I’ve read where the moment a character is introduced, you as reader know exactly the role he or she is going to have in the plot — romantic interest, rival, comedic foil, big bad, etc.
I think those books can sometimes feel too easy, too cliched. So, I entreat you to take your time introducing your characters, and let them reveal themselves over a bit of time. Think about real life — do you always know the moment you meet someone how they’ve going to fit into your life? Or do your relationships grow and mature over time?
For instance, Rexroth and I were online buddies for a year or so before we talked on the phone and started becoming friends, and it was several months more before we met in person, and then three months more after that before we started dating! I’m not saying that all your novel romances have to have that prolonged a timeline, but know that you can take your time setting up characters before rushing them into relationships.