Monday, March 2, 2009

WHYs and Archetypes...

I've been to visit the mother-in-law six hours away for the long weekend and didn't have much chance to work on my proposals, but (as you writers will understand) the story was always stewing. 

I've finished one of the proposals I plan to send to Lucy and I'm working on the second. I'm fairly happy with Martha, my party-girl heroine who's had to curb her wild ways because she's now guardian of her teenage sister, but her hero is causing me to tear out my hair!!!

As I've come to do for the last few books... I gleaned a general idea of his character (from who knows where) and then grabbed my old faithful archtype book. Anyone else use ''The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines''? I find this book helps me solidify in my head who my character is and often gives me ideas about their personality or background I hadn't even thought of. 

My heroine Martha is a ''Spunky Kid.'' In short, she's gutsy and true and loyal to the end. She has a fabulous sense of humour, can be slightly sarcastic and doesn't think the world owes her a living.

I've matched her with Sebastian, a ''Professor.'' He's not actually a professor - at this stage, he's a plastic surgeon (but I'm not sure this is MH enough) - but he has qualities of a ''Professor.'' This means he's cooly analytical. He's usually the smartest person in the room and the authority in his field (surely that's alpha), he's organised and a slave to logic. And... the big thing ''an allure of chaos can be strong for this man.'' I'm hoping Martha will bring lots of chaos into his life.

My problem is WHY?!!! WHY is Sebastian tied to his work, so much so that he doesn't allow himself a social life? And what does he want out of life? Initially I had both of them not in the market for marriage or even a serious relationship at the moment, but I'm not sure this works.

She wants to live life to the full and tick everything off her TO DO LIST before she settles down (cos she's had to be MS Responsibility for the last few years looking after her sister). I'm thinking perhaps it would then be better if he's actually quite keen on the idea of marriage from the beginning but is having problems finding Miss Right... But then that doesn't tie in with him not allowing himself a social life, which I DO need for the premise of the book to work!! 

Oh hell...what do you wise ladies think??  I for one am tying myself in knots with all this planning!!


Lucy King said...

Oooooh, how interesting! Am loving your characters.

Ummmm, maybe Sebastian used to be a more like Martha when he was younger and something terrible happened because of it, so he decides he's never going to allow chaos into his life again. So he'd have a real problem with all that Martha represents. Or maybe he's sworn off love cos he knows from experience it makes people behave illogically. Or something.

Jackie Ashenden said...

Great idea, Rach! And I like Lucy's, 'or something'. Sounds like me. ;-)
How about this: Hero is tied to his work because he had a sister who was very like the heroine. And maybe this sister died due to her party-lifetsyle (party pill overdose?) so he is channeling his bitterness into his work and/or, like Lucy's idea (which is good too), he has decided he's never going to 'end up like her'. Which would mean the heroine is his worst nightmare because she acts like his sister did.
And maybe (on a roll here) Martha's sister could have had severe health issues as a kid which meant Martha felt sidelined and unloved. Hence her being wild (in order to get attention). And maybe Martha would never consider him as a mate because he's an authority figure and a doctor - both of which she hates because it reminds her of those feelings of being umimportant when she was a kid!
Then they could find common ground in their 'sister' issues.

Right. Better quit now. :-)

Lorraine said...

Perhaps Sebastian had his heart broken the one time he DID throw caution to the wind so now everything has to be carefully managed to stop his emotions ever getting out of control again. Martha threatens his controlled world.
Martha secretly yearns for more structure and control in her life but can't work out how to stop the roller coaster she's on. Perhaps some of her wild ways can be rooted in running away from facing something she's unhappy about and Sebastian's analytical approach threatens her coping mechanism.
Together they can find the happy medium :-)

Rachael Johns said...

Once again thanks sooooooooooo much for your help gals... I'm slowly working through my issues and hopefully getting somewhere.

I really appreciate your ideas - I realise I do need to give Seb something in his past to make him the way he is.

I've actually also realised that part of my problem was in casting him as a 'Professor' when he's actually more of a 'Chief.' Hopefully now I've worked this out... I'll be more clear on the conflicts, etc and where I can take the story!!