We've had such a breezy cool-warm sunny (well mostly) summer here in the Northeast. Did I mention I'm spending time in one of my favorite places? Rocky coastal cliffs edged with misty smoke-filled morning fog rising over a distant sea... And all that, yeah. Good setting.
Okay so this is not about the weather or a story setting, not really. As I sit on my rock contemplating the frothy ocean waves below me I find my thoughts circling around ideas about what makes a great hero. I'm reminded of a much loved (by me) hero I created a while back. His story is so different, sci-fi, yes but kind of with a 'new age type' flair and I never got it to the point of revision much less submission. Writing that story was an act of wild ride love for me as it came out fast and furious onto the page in a flash.
Now everyone knows I don't do panster well. My usual technique style is to edit as I go. But this story just jumped onto the page errors and all. We've all had stories like this and some authors even write this way all the time-- lucky writers. I can't do it usually. The editor in me is always there. Maybe too much. Yet I have mostly found a balance and can be creative too.
But back to my heroic hero. I honestly fell in love with the idea of him while visiting this particular rocky coastline and his story unfolded like a dream. But I felt he and his story had too much light, not deep enough to be publishable (in the targets) and maybe I'd just keep him for myself.
Yet when my main crit partner at that time read it over, she commented on how dark his story was. I said, Really? Your kidding -- he's a healer filled with light, he's innocent and sweet. To which she promptly replied, hmmm, well I see a lot of hidden darkness here. She went on to explain her view and then said, I think it's very marketable... I thought about her comments and decided if ever I wanted to sub this, it needed work, more conflict. Not so much, she said back. But maybe you need to cut some of the conflict out and tie up the loose ends better. Really? I repeated.
Just goes to show how much my true subconscious took over as I wrote -- I thought I was writing a light ethereal story and here I was creating my usual mysterious darkly tinged hero! Well, maybe not the hero so much, but his story sure is a bit on the dark side!
That happened a couple of years ago. At the time I decided to shelf the story and my wonderful hero. I went on to work on writing and researching other stories, using methods I'd learned-- fleshing out characters, studying the plot, keeping back story down, and hooks everywhere-- oh and yes, editing, revising and rewriting everything constantly.
As I watch the waves crashing on the cliffs, my wonderful hero from long ago past haunts me. I still love him. And being here (a similar setting as his story) brings him back with a force so strong he won't leave me alone. Should I revive him again? Tell his story? Oh boy, it will be a ton of work. Even the grammar wasn't that good. But he calls out to me from the edge of the sea and maybe he needs to be heard.
...He touched her and her pain shot through him like a shock wave. She'd kept the terrible illness, her suffering hidden from him. In fact, her enticing presence blinded him and he had not seen the truth about her. Her uncanny beauty knocked his sensing ability so far off kilter he wondered how he had any sense at all. He drew closer. So close, he felt her breathlessness against his chest. Opening his hands, he scanned her face and let the spectrum colors flow through his fingers, sending iridescent purples and golden hues around her, pulling her into his healing light...
(A little more editing and it'll get there!)
How about you? Do you have a beloved character that you shelved but who keeps haunting you to tell his/her story?