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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oh Darling! ~ Wendi Zwaduk

What do you do when your characters decide who they love? Ok, so a sort of strange opening question, but hear me out. Sometimes, love just doesn’t work out the way we plan. I mean, if it did, we wouldn’t have as much need for those dating sites or stories of lost love where one person is trying like heck to get the other back. It’d be kind of a boring place. Sometimes love just ain’t enough, especially when they don't want to cooperate.

I’ve got two examples of what I mean. One: my hero in Tangled Up initially told me he was pining over his ex—Mindy. I sat down to work out his story.
Turns out, Mindy is only half the equation. There’s another him. Fine. Really. I really liked the push it gave me to step out of my safe zone and write something I didn’t think I could. It wasn’t enough for Arran to want Mindy and it wasn’t enough for him to love Sav. Their arrangement made me think of the Beatles’ song Oh Darling. “When you told me, you didn’t need me anymore, well, ya know, I nearly broke down and died.” Mindy thinks Arran doesn’t love her. Sav’s afraid Arran doesn’t love him. And yet, there’s a huge clusterschmuck.

Wasn’t exactly as I’d planned. I had Arran and Mindy together with no Sav in sight. He wasn’t even a twinkle in the eye. I assumed it would be a pretty MF story. Boy, was I wrong. But yanno, I rather liked it that way.

Here’s example two: In Careless Whisper, I had the idea that the hero and his ex would get together. Now that was a really rough draft. I had the idea, again, that it would be a pretty, simple MF. I got the MF part, but I sure didn’t get the simple part. Ryan’s convinced he needs the love of his ex-wife back. Can’t live without her—even though he’s living without her. My heroine, Samara, can’t stand the hero. She thinks he’s a total klutzy buffoon.

There was spark between Samara and Ryan, but I thought, gee, these two do not like each other. I guess my instinct on them is totally off. But then I put them in a room together. She told him off in a way no one else had done and wonder of wonders, it turned him on. He still has an emotional attachment to his ex—she was his ex and she’s dead, I can’t hold it against him, nor would I. It’s tough to lose a family member. But then again, Careless Whisper isn’t exactly everything it seems—it’s more.

Like I said above, both books turned out differently than how I planned, but they worked. Has this ever happened to you? Have you had a pairing all planned out and found out it wasn’t going to happen just the way you thought? I’d love to know.

And for a treat, here’s an excerpt from Careless Whisper:
Samara sipped from her soda can and stared at him. Ignoring the words coming from his mouth, she focused on the passion blazing in his eyes, the lilt in his voice as he described the hauntings—and the blob of cheese on the corner of his mouth. Just reach across and politely wipe it off? Say something? Point discreetly?

Kiss it off!

She gasped. Yeah, kissing it off presented a whole gamut of delicious ideas, but she’d just told him not to put the moves on her. Wasn’t the flip-flopping in order to turn the tables a bit…sexy, wrong, enticing, childish, against her personal rules? And whoever the voice was needed to keep quiet before she did something she’d both enjoy and regret. Guys like Ryan, no matter how much they claimed, didn’t fall for women like her.

“You aren’t listening.”

Heat infused her cheeks. “Sorry.” Samara busied her hands by moving his soda can off the opposite corner of the map. “One more time?”

“You heard something.”

“Yes.” She sighed. “But you also have cheese, right here.” Gingerly reaching across the table, she slid her finger over the melted dairy product.

Molten lava lit up Ryan’s eyes as his tongue darted out to taste her. Sucking her finger into his mouth, he moaned. Electricity zapped through her system and dampened her panties. Who knew a glob of cheese could lead to an erotic act?

When he released her hand, Samara sank back in her seat. Everything in the room seemed to fade away, except Ryan and the raw need sizzling between them. Something deep in her gut told her fucking him would be everything she imagined and so much more. Hell, seeing him naked would probably make her come, it had been so long since she’d been with a man.

Then jump on him and have fun for a change.

About Wendi: I always dreamed of writing the stories in my head. Tall, dark, and handsome heroes are my favorites, as long as he has an independent woman keeping him in line. I tend to write books with titles taken from songs because music is one of my many muses.
I earned a BA in education at Kent State university and as well as a Masters in Education from Nova Southeastern University. I've tried my hand at teaching, waitressing, and retail sales, but writing holds my heart.

I love NASCAR, romance, books in general, Ohio farmland, dirt racing, and my menagerie of animals. I have six books under contract and more than my brain can handle percolating. I can't wait to share them with you! Visit me on my site and my blog!


Mrs. Soule said...

I like these insights into how you write and wrestle with characters! And I enjoyed the Careless Whisper excerpt - that cheese is hilarious!

Cathy M said...

As a reader-only, I love hearing about the writing process. Great excerpt for Careless Whisper, Wendi, it definitely whet my appetite for more.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

joder said...

I love seeing how a story evolves and you always have to go with your gut. Both books sound wonderful, so it sounds like you made the right decisions.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

Di said...

love to read how you writers create! sounds like a hot story.

sallans d at yahoo dot com

Virginia said...

I love reading about the writing process, its something I would never attempt to write a book but love reading about it.


Jean P said...

I enjoy reading about how writers deal with their stories and the process they go through to get to the end.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Mrs. Soule - Oh how I couldn't help but totally go with the cheese. :-) She wanted to kiss it off, so much.

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Cathy - glad you liked the excerpt. I loved writing the book. They were a riot.

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Joder - you'll have to tell me after you read them if I made the right decisions. I hope you like them.

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Di- glad you're interested. I had a blast writing them.

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Virginia - writing a book isn't the hard part. The hard part is editing the book and getting it just right for the publisher. That's where the stress and tears come in, but its so worth it.

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Jean - glad you liked the post. Hope you like the books.

Janet H said...

I think that is so cool that your characters choose their own direction. Both books sound very good.

Stephanie said...

These look terrifc!! I love when a story just takes you with it! Congrats.

Caffey said...

Reading your post, I too could feel how the characters are totally steering you with the story. I always heard that the characters often tell the story and so understood it more reading his post. I don't write but have read books where I was totally surprised in how they turned out.

cathiecaffey @

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Janet - if I have anything, it's characters who have mind's of their own. Glad you like it!

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Thanks Stephanie! Hope you enjoy them!

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Cathie - I love when I have a story all planned and the characters say, yanno, I want to do this instead. Its usually a better story that way.

Nancy G said...

I totally understand now about how a character can have a mind of his/her own. Sometimes it can be refreshing, and it usually makes the story better in the end.

Paradox Sinner said...

I love when authors get wrapped up in the characters in their stories as you do. It shows how much you love the characters and translate to the readers.

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Thanks Nancy! Ryan and Arran did what they wanted and i loved it. It added to the tension of writing the story, in both cases, but I'm glad. Arran pushed me to write something I'd never tried before, so that was fun, too.

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Paradox Sinner - I completely got wrapped in Arran's story and Ryan's, too. I've got a couple of stories going right now that I'm immersed in and would love to expand. We'll see. :-)