Blog Post by Karen Blakely
It’s interesting, to have four authors writing a story about two main characters. Two writers are sharing Lola, the chef, and two of us are sharing Charlie, the ballerina. I like Charlie. Among other things, she’s tough, graceful, vegan, into herbal remedies – and she’s lonely.
Because I need to know my character before I start writing, I touched base with my Charlie compatriot a couple times. We decided on a few external features and some of the more critical internal truths for Charlie. That’s one of my favorite things; finding out who my character really is and understanding how they’re going to react to the world around them.
Charlie is intrigued by Lola. Maybe nothing would have come of their first brief encounter, but they end up running into each other the next morning. That was my job in Chapter Four. To get them back together and into a Pilates class.
I’ve never done Pilates (and have no intention of changing that deficit). So before writing my chapter, I had some research to do. That involved scouring the internet for Pilates positions and typical clothing. And I needed to show the differences between Lola and Charlie, so I spent more time checking out typical parkour clothes which Lola prefers.
That brings up an interesting point about writing and the internet. My search history is extremely, embarrassingly, strange, though I believe that’s true for a lot of writers. Over the course of seven finished books, and four more in various planning/writing stages, I’ve looked up the disappearance of the Anasazi, monsters around the world, poisons for vampires, herbal remedies, Pilates classes, parkour clothes, interesting locations (in various cities and states), the history of the witch trials in England and ‘werewolf’ killings in France in the 1600s, the Malleus Maleficarum (known as the “Hammer of Witches”), the corrosive effects of different acids and how to neutralize them, lightning strikes, and so on.
It’s amazing the things you can find these days from the comfort of your own home.
Even with all my preparation, I was surprised by some of the things that occurred as I began writing. That’s another part of the process that I really enjoy. Having it all unfold under my fingers, sometimes in ways I didn’t expect. Where the characters start to live and breath and inhabit their own stories. For example, I realized Lola had to have a freckle near the corner of her mouth, because Charlie is quite taken with it.
Since I’m not writing this by myself, I had to make sure the two Lola writers were okay with her newly discovered freckle. Fortunately, they were. I’m not sure what Charlie would do if I had to take it away now.
We’re still at the beginning of this process, but so far we’ve been listening to each other’s ideas and agreeing to incorporate them. And I have to say, I’m enjoying this project immensely!