Wonder Boi Writes

Five Weeks Until Does She Love You

Last week I introduced you to idea behind the plot of Does She Love You.  This week, I’d like to introduce you to the trio of women who drive that plot.

This first is Annabelle, Belle, Taylor.  She is a classic Southern beauty, with blonde hair and baby blue eyes. She’s got an hourglass frame with curves in all the right places. A blue blood daughter of a wealthy horse rancher, Belle had the world at her fingertips.  She didn’t have to work at all, but while at the University of Georgia, she refused to follow in her sorority sisters’ footsteps and get an MRS degree.  Instead, she studied to be a teacher and did so successfully until she fell in love with Nic McCoy, a woman short on connections but long on charm.  Belle stood up to her family and the rest of their country club set by not only coming out, but also by making a life and home with Nic.  She has taken her place in the upper echelons of Athens’ society circles, but she’d done so with her woman by her side.  Belle is fiercely protective of Nic and proud of what they have together. She’s a gourmet Southern cook, she plays a mean game of tennis, she keeps an immaculate house, and she enjoys playing the perfect partner to a businesswoman on the rise.  She’s so in love with Nic that she occasionally puts her own desires on the back burner, but she knows she’s blessed and is desperately looking forward to starting a family with her.

Davis Chandler is an independent woman.  Her natural wit and sarcasm has served her well while living on her own in Midtown Atlanta.  Some may call her jaded, but she knows what she wants, and she’s learned the hard way that most people won’t meet her standards.  She’s got a temperament typical of her bright red hair color, fiery, sexy, passionate.  A graphic designer, she’d got an eye for the aesthetic, and she embraces her modern urban surroundings.  She’s fit and lean from always being on the go and enjoys riding her bike through the city.  Davis has a big heart and never does anything halfway.  She wants to be able to apply that same drive and passion to a relationship. She’s ready to go after what she wants, but she won’t beg. She knows she’s worth more than the string of losers she’s met in the last few years.  She’d rather remain single than become a doormat for any woman.  She wants to play it cool when she meets Nic at a bar. Her experiences have taught her that a woman who looks too good to be real probably is, but Davis isn’t one to sit back and let life happen to her.  She dives in headfirst and doesn’t look back.

These two women were more than enough to keep any writer on her toes.  I loved them both from the beginning, to the point that I almost felt bad about making them fall in love with the same woman, but I knew they were both strong characters who could take anything I could dish out.  They were so full of life, so beautiful, and they offered each other so much balance I knew they could make it through, and what’s more, I knew could guide them along the way.  I got them, I saw them, I understood what drove them.  I knew I could find the bottom of their pain and that together we could find our way back.  I had such a strong connection to Davis and Annabelle from the very beginning, as if I recognized key components of myself in each of them, and I knew my readers would feel the same.

I had my full cast and my plot. I was ready to go, and yet I wasn’t going.  The ideas sat in my mind for weeks, stretching into months, and I didn’t know why.  I was happy with what I had to work with, and I really believed my readers could really pull for these women in this context. It should be easy, a nice clean, clear-cut story of triumph, if only I could write it.

I was still stuck as I arrived at GCLS 2011 when KG McGregor took the stage to give a brilliant keynote address on refusing to take the easy way out.  She talked about the importance of telling the tough stories, of tackling the hard issues, of exploring the darker aspects of ourselves.  It was an emotional speech, one that gave me chills several times, but more than that, challenged me to go beyond my heroes and look at the person I’d previously cast as little more than a very static villain.

Suddenly Nic McCoy needed a voice, she needed a backstory, she needed motivation.  She became more than a shadowy figure in my mind.  She became my fears, my darkest impulses, the person any one of us could become if boiled down to our basest instincts. Nic became the place where the toughest questions of the story get asked and sometimes answered.  Nic has everything any of us ever claims to want.  She’s good looking, she charismatic, she’s successful. Nic has all the qualities we as a society value.  She’s self-made, she never gives up, she’s never content to take second place when she could be first. She also has impulses every one of us could fall prey to.  She wants to be wanted, she fears failure, she likes to win.  She is, like Annabelle and Davis, a part of each of us, and I had to face that in light of the mistakes she makes, the pain she causes, and the damage she does to the women who represented the best in each of us.

Thanks a lot KG!

Once I added Nic to the trio, the story unfolded pretty rapidly, but it was no longer the simple, sweet romance I’d intended.  Does She Love You suddenly became the longest, deepest, most exhausting thing I’ve ever written.  The characters challenged me, they knocked me around and wore me out, but they also gave me an emotional pay-off like I’d never experienced before. I hope this cast of characters has the same effect on you.

 

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May 29, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. I am so excited for the GCLS! I haven’t touched my novel in so long and I’m so down on myself for it. I’m looking to the GCLS for a refresh. For fuel. For motivation and direction. I’ve talked with MJ Williamz a time or two and she said that she probably wouldn’t have been published had she not attended the con. So I’m waiting, as patiently as possible to go and absorb everything and anything. I have huge dreams and hopes. I’ve got the work ethic. I’ve got everything except clarity and direction. My mind is a mess! Thanks for this blog, Rachel! I enjoyed it immensely!

    Comment by Michele | May 29, 2013 | Reply

  2. Sounds like GCLS is just what you need. Get there, soak it all up. Have fun, but don’t get distracted by the shiny people and loud parties. Be a student. Take things in. Learn from the great ones (who are often the quiet ones). Shake hands, make connections and then when you get home make the time to write. You’ll be tired and overwhelmed, and backed up on work, but everything that happened at the con will be for nothing if you don’t use that energy to write.

    Comment by rachelspangler | May 29, 2013 | Reply


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