Layer Cake Goodness
Believe it or not, I’m still in the middle of editing my urban fantasy. It’s taking a lot longer than I thought, but that’s okay. What I’ve polished so far I love. I’m at the mid-way point in the story and the heroine just met the villain face-to-face for the first time. Everything is hitting the fan. Good stuff.
I’ve already written the first draft and synopsis, so I know what will happen to these characters and how the story will end. As I go through the manuscript a second time, I’m adding a little foreshadowing here, a red-herring there, a quirky trait over there. It’s making this story more real for me. Who knew that the villain’s accomplice has an addiction to Trident gum? Or that my rough-and-tumble hero keeps a quilt made by his grandmother on his bed? Or that my heroine has trouble walking in high-heeled shoes?
In the first draft, I didn’t know any of this. The small things didn’t matter so much at the time. This editing round however, I’m taking my time and focusing on the details. As a result these characters are popping off the page and coming alive. They’re becoming interesting and — I hope — people will connect with them better because of it.
I’ve started thinking of my story as a layer cake. On the first pass, I made the cake itself. Now on the second pass, I’m adding all of the filling. A little chocolate, a little raspberry… yummy! I can begin to see the shape it will take and how many layers it will hold. In the final pass, I’ll clean up structural issues. You know what I’m talking about… the grammar, spelling, sentence structure and such. I think of this as the frosting. It can be the first thing that a person sees, and can turn an editor or agent away if poorly done. But if it’s done well, it could really make your cake stand out from the line-up on the bakery counter.
So I’m asking all of you today… What is it about a character in a novel that makes them come alive in your eyes? If you can, tell me about a quirky character trait you’ve read about that has stuck with you. I’d love to hear about it!