Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fairy Tale Endings

When Ayden asked me to be a part of this takeover, I jumped at the opportunity. She is, after all, one of my best friends. We've been in everything from powdered sugar to formal dresses together (and that was just in one week). But when it actually came time to sit down and write this blog, I struggled with what to write about.

Then it hit me. You've heard Ayden talk about her inspiration behind her characters, including the one that was named and modeled after me. How about characters that are modeled after other fictional characters?

It was NaNo 2009. Ayden and I were both crazy busy with life at the time (I was taking care of my two youngest sisters and applying for grad school while working full time, while Ayden was knee deep in the dozens of activities she was involved in at the time). So, we didn't think that we could manage the 50K word count on our own, and decided to team up to write a novel together. There was a contest going on somewhere at the time for fairy tale retellings, so we planned and wrote a modern-day Beauty and the Beast.

The easiest way for us to write together, with our wacky schedules, was to each write from the perspective of one of the main characters. So, we developed our characters, shared our notes for those scenes where they were together, and then traded e-mails back and forth for the rest of the month.

My character was Mira Cordova, a publicist with the Children's Advocacy Center (fictional) of a town somewhere in the South. She had a difficult history with children involving her ex-husband, and fled Los Angeles to work for a non-profit. She's made a bit of a name for herself working with the Center, and is a generally pleasant woman, but can be quite the spitfire when she's challenged.

Ayden's character was Caelen Worden, a lawyer who took no prisoners in the courtroom, and got the murderer of one of the most respected women in town out of jail and back onto the streets. Consequently, he's not the most liked person in town. This negative attention has made him very angry and cynical, and he's quick to lash out at people.

They are thrown in each other's paths after Caelen is sentenced to 200 hours of community service at the Center for getting into a physical fight in the courtroom.

Irritation flared, taking his hold on his temper with it. He’d had just about enough of this woman summarily dismissing him. He slammed the door behind him and strode further into the room. “We need to talk.”

“Obviously,” Mira tossed the papers onto the desk and scowled up at him, her brown eyes shooting sparks. “This is a children’s advocacy center. These kids have been abused, neglected and God knows what else. You will not slam doors. You will not yell. You will not stomp through here like a wounded bear looking to pick a fight. You will not-“

“I will not,” Caelen broke in harshly, “languish in some back room licking envelopes until kingdom come while you and your holier than thou staff snicker about the mighty lawyer you’ve put in his place.”

“While we-“ Mira blinked, confusion clouding her eyes. “What?”

“If I have to be here, fine, I’ll be here. But not to be your errand boy while those with no education actually manage to do something useful around here. Give me something real to do or take the damn check and let me go.” There. That was clear enough.

What I loved best about this project is that whenever one of us would get writer's block, the other would pick up the story flawlessly. We never hated the way the other handled our character, and kept them true to our original plan.

Sadly, it's been over two years since we really touched the manuscript. Maybe after Ayden finishes her thing with Fade we can smooth it out a little more.

Chelle Lynn is a writer at heart, but finds school gets in the way far more often than it should. You can read some of her stuff over at Fiction by Chelle Lynn.

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