Thursday, May 3, 2007

Character Insight! A child's POV

When Promises To Keep was published, my editor thought it should be two books instead of one. So now, as I work on the back half that is not published I've come upon a few obstacles that I had covered early in Promises To Keep, namely character descriptions and insight to their personalities. In order to not feel as if I'm rewriting part of the first book, I had to come up with new ways of describing my characters. I chose to use the children in a few places. They are minor but important characters and this way of writing is nothing new, but to those struggling with a similar problem, I wanted to share with you how I accomplished this.

Promises My Love is the contination of Promises To Keep. It is a family saga, set in the mid 1840's Kentucky. The boy Jimmy in this scene is the son of Francis Frailey, both are main characters. The girl is a neighbor and continues to be a minor character throughout the book. The two children are sitting on the girl's back porch after Jimmy's piano lessons. Jim loves playing the piano, he simply doesn't like his instructor and has been verbalizing his dislike to his young friend Kazarah. Jimmy's little sister Crystal is also with them on the porch steps.

"Pa's home," Jimmy sounded happier now. "An' I bet it won't take 'im two shakes to come looking for Crystal."

Kazarah knew what Jimmy said to be true. Five minutes passed before Mr. Frailey crossed the yard. Kazarah watched as he squatted in front of the little girl. His big hand moved gentle when he stroked Crystal's hair, then Mr. Frailey sniffed as the tot held the bedraggled flower out to him.

"Hmm," his soft voice drifted up. "Who gave you the pretty flower?"

"Dimmy did," Crystal giggled at her daddy, and Mr. Frailey smiled too. Kazarah realized how young and tall Mr. Frailey was compared to her own daddy. Her daddy's hair was almost gone and she liked kissing his rough bewhiskered cheek. But Crissy's daddy dressed perfect in a gray suit and a stiff white shirt. His hair was light-colored and short cropped, nary a scrap of gray like her pa's. And his clean shaven face looked quite proper even when he noticed the scowl Jimmy wore. Mr. Frailey's smile warmed his features when he asked in a quiet voice, "What happened this week?"

Jimmy bounced off the steps, rattling on much like before. As Mr. Frailey lifted Crystal into his strong arms, he patted her ruffled skirt down, but Kazarah still glimpsed pale stockings. Mr. Frailey nodded his goodbye and Kazarah smiled shyly at his kind manners. The threesome sauntered to the big house across the way and Kazarah watched them til they reached their back door.

So, through the eyes of this child Kazarah my readers have a better understanding of Francis Frailey. By the time the POV turns to Francis the reader will already have some insight as to his quiet reserve.

Writing sequels or a series is a great way to build your reader audience. And I hope sharing this excerpt helps in your writing tasks.

Til next time ~

Deb (DL Larson)

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