Monday, August 18, 2014

HOW MUCH ANGST DO CHARACTERS NEED? Developing Backstory

With: Angi Morgan

Congratulations to "Jen", the winner in Angi's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.
Developing Backstory

What do you prefer? 
Characters with a tragic-filled past? 
Or can their pasts be one full of love and normalcy? 

The hero who needs to be redeemed: I've written them, loved them, fallen for them. They're extremely popular. It's easy to give them a back story full of angst and quite honestly, they are an character to develop. They'll throw lots of surprises into the story. You ache for them to find happiness. Jamie Fraser from Outlander,  And the most recent hero with a tragic past is Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy. 

The hero who had a happy childhood: Do readers want him? Can you think of one? Are those crickets chirping for you too? Are happy characters too mundane to engage readers? Have I written a hero with a happy past? Well…maybe not.

I love to suspend my disbelief. And when reading or watching a movie we all have to. But we love characters with tragic pasts and tremendous obstacles to overcome. We want to see the underdog win. What does an already successful character need to become happy? Writers give characters lots of "back story" and in a romance we give them the right person to "complete" their story (or character arc).

Over the past two weeks, I wrote a partial to submit with a four book proposal. The pantser that I am just began writing. I loved the interaction of the hero and heroine. They are perfect for each other. And woot woot woot…the action was awesome--fast-paced, suspenseful. The characters were cute, likeable, smart, good at what they did. I really enjoyed it. 

Partial was written and I moved on to the synopsis. Hero back story… Silence. Heroine back story… Again with the crickets? Come on.  So I go to my go-to people for ideas. "More motivation is needed." "What happened to them in their pasts?" "Couldn't someone in their life have been murdered?" I took it all in. I tried to put the tragedy into their lives and it just didn't work for these characters. It would have changed all of their interaction. 

Without a heavy back story, did I have anything for the hero and heroine to overcome? Well, there is the fact that two crime families believe they committed murder and have placed a bounty on their heads. They're being chased across Texas by the real murderer. The police want to arrest them… 

So can a hero and heroine satisfied with where they are in their lives discover they need more? Especially from each other?  While they're on the run for their lives? You tell me. I really want to know.

ANGI MORGAN writes “Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love.” She combines actual Texas settings with characters who are in realistic and dangerous situations. Angi's work has been a finalist in the Bookseller’s Best Award, Romantic Times Best First Series, Carolyn Readers Choice, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and the Daphne du Maurier. 

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Giveaway:
HOW MUCH ANGST DO YOU NEED AS A READER? Leave your opinion for a chance to win.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST August 19th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.



28 comments:

  1. I love reading books where there is somekind of danger. And the hero has to gain heroines trust and protect her from the kidnapper or help her to stay out of trouble.... and she falls right into his arms....aaahhh :) So yeah, I need lots of angst ;)

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  2. Forgot to put my mail: irma DOT jurejevcic AT amis DOT net (irma.jurejevcic@amis.net)

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  3. Angst does add a lot to a story, but the way you set this up is very doable. Even if they had a perfect past, you have thrown them out of their comfort zone, into danger at every turn, not knowing who to trust, and hopefully they still have the push-pull relationship (attraction but knowing it needs to wait until the danger is past....that gets harder to resist...smile). However you do it, I know it will be great! Can't wait to read it.

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  4. Angst is pretty important in a story for me. I like to see the hero and heroine be worried or concerned for each other because of some sort of drama happening in their lives. joanne.boykoATyahooDOTca

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  5. Whatever suits the characters and their story... the level of angst depends on their situation... the amount of danger they experience... seeing how they deal with whatever comes their way and fits their personalities... I enjoy the journey to see how everything comes about to get to their HEA!

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  6. As long as the current story has good action and interaction, I don't care how much angst the past holds. I have read wonderful books both ways. You do a wonderful job with both action and relationships so whatever feels right for you must be right.

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  7. Oops, I am always up for a contest. idreamjj@yahoo.com.

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  8. Enough to make it interesting, but not so much it's ridiculous

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Drawing that line is important. Thanks BN.

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  9. I think Heroes and Heroines that have had happy, well adjusted lives can be exciting. When trouble does hit they won't have the emotional experience. There will be angst galore! It can be interesting to see how they grow and develop. I say let the characters be themselves. They'll sort it out for you. :)

    blameitonabook at gmail dot com

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    1. WOO HOO Julie !!!! That's what I'm going to try.

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  10. It really depends upon the kind of story. A touch of angst can give the story substance & momentum, too much & it can just bog it down.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Great advice. The characters can get hung up in overcoming instead of defeating.

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  11. I'd also have to say that it depends on the story... too much angst and I'm all grrrrrr and too little, I'm all meh... so it's a fine line :) Thanks for sharing!

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  12. I enjoy some angsty stories, but I have to say my favorite books don't have a ton of angst. I love stories where characters act like real people, and most people I know aren't so angsty in real life!

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    1. Oops, jll2800 at yahoo dot com.

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    2. WOO HOO !!! I write fiction, but I like to make the characters real. Thanks Jen.

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  13. Angst, in the right dose is good, but not if it's contrived. :)

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  14. CONGRATS to Jen. I've got an email on it's way with how to contact me.
    Thanks to everyone who responded. I value your opininions.

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