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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Character Clinic: Day 3

Blog Tour Buddies: Find me featured today at Eileen Astel's blog

Today's assessment features Raquel's character, Rosie*. Raquel is writing a Gothic mystery/romantic suspense, which means Rosie's got to be afraid of something and vulnerable (in a nutshell). Rosie is left at the alter and disowned by her wealthy family when she refuses to cooperate with a coverup that will send a man to jail. She loses everything: home, inheritance, fiance. Her mother cuts her off from her life as her father's demand. She moves from sunny California to the damp shore of Washington state to be a caregiver, hide from the tragedy of her life in general, and make a new start.

Once there, she's told the agency made a mistake and she's not hired. She crashes in her car, feeling lost with her faith shaken. She finds herself embroiled in a mystery surrounding a brooding hero, various quirky and creepy staff members, strange occurrences, and a murder mystery.

Raquel wants to know: Would Rosie be strong enough to risk her heart again to save another family from tragedy even after she lost everything, or would it inflame her heightened sense of justice despite having been burned so recently? Would it take more than a widower and his frightened little girl to get her moving? How would she deal with unexplained happenings like strange sounds and lights in the woods? Would she gradually get stronger or would she be pushed to a breaking point and then choose to fight back? What would be a normal course of emotion? Would she be grieving for the loss of the life she almost had? Would she realize that it wasn't what she wanted after all?

Raquel, I so enjoy your write-ins. You pack so much stuff into your emails...I'd love to sit through a brainstorming session with you!

But let's get to Rosie. The fact that she was able to stand up against her family, knowing that they'd be ticked and write her off, speaks to an inner strength and strong moral compass that won't go away simply because she's facing hard times. Yes, faith can be shaken, but her personality will remain the same. She's obviously not into telling lies, and wouldn't want innocent people to suffer.

I believe she'll jump in with both feet to save the little girl and the widower if she feels that they are suffering through an injustice (I assume the widower will be her love interest and he's being wrongly accused of killing his wife?). That would be unjust enough to make her step in....IF she saw the truth clearly and IF she saw a way to help.

Human nature dictates that we don't put ourselves out there too much. If she could help without risking much internally or externally, especially given her previous external and emotional loss, then that's the route of less resistance that she'd take. (Wouldn't you?) She might very well jump right in and help - I wouldn't get fixated on whether she'd hesitate at first. There is plenty of historical precedence of people leaving the frying pan and jumping into the fire, making people around them scratch their heads. I think you can boil that down to individual differences and no one would question it.

Now...the little girl. If you've got Rosie as a nurturing sort (or she wouldn't have chosen a job as a caregiver), I'd up the ante with the little girl. Use her to your advantage. Perhaps Rosie could lose a sister at a similar age to the girl? Or a best friend? I don't know how your story would work if Rosie had lost a baby girl prior to the book starting, but I'd give Rosie some unmistakable motivation to draw close to that little girl...the dad will come as a package deal, of course, but Rosie's first inclination would be to nurture and protect that girl...even if it ultimately comes to protecting her from the dad himself (if she later comes to possibly believe that he murdered his wife). If you do this back story right, no one would ever question her motivation of helping.

A normal course of emotion after losing her family and ostensibly her immediate future (with slimebag fiance who dumped her) would be grief. Impose on that the cultural shift of moving from the beaches of California to the temperate climate of Washington state....and she's likely to be pretty depressed. It's a big culture shift from one to the other, also. Depending on her looks, she might stick out---too tanned or different accents.

But if she's not a naturally depressed person, the right set of circumstances could lift her mind away from her troubles and she might very well welcome the opportunity to distract herself with some project of sorts. (My guess is that her depression is situational...and that's easier to treat and more likely to lift on it's own once the situation changes than organic depression that arises from within for no apparent reason. Hope that makes sense.) Enter the little girl here and you've got her on the track to healing.

Now, I have no idea how she'd handle lights and sounds in the woods. I'm afraid I've not been a connoisseur of Gothic mystery novels, but I imagine there is a somewhat stereotypical reaction to things like that, is there not? And I'd also imagine that readers of the genre would expect one or two things: 1) she reacts like the timid, helpless wearing-a-nightie-into-the-woods-to-trip-at-the-worst-possible-time-and-die type female lead (love your description of this, by the way) and runs, screams, etc or 2) she lights a freakin' blow torch and goes investigating. Your pick. :)

I think I covered all your questions, but if I didn't, lemme know below. Thanks again for writing in. Hopefully I've given you some stuff to work with.


Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

This was great! I so enjoyed reading this from both the perspective of a therapist and a writer.

Anonymous said...

I totally concur with your assessment of situational depression. You are so right on! Alice Lynn

Raquel Byrnes said...

Thank you so much Jeannie! I loved your insight. :)

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.