I have had more feedback from Anna at M&B re my conflict for my heroine. One word: argh!!!
Want to know why? Alrighty, no, having parents dictate a characters actions is not acceptable. A bad relationship with a parent should add to the conflict, not define it. And add is the key word here. In other words, the reasons a character behaves the way they do must be for their own reasons alone and not be explained by another person’s ill treatment of them.
So what does this mean for my poor heroine? Well, her mother’s ill treatment of her cannot be the reason she is the way she is. Whether this happens in the real world or not is beside the point – this is what they are looking for in a character and so this is what I must provide.
Do I have a solution? Oh yes, indeed. In fact I had a brainwave about this last night. My heroine at the time the story opens is feeling lonely. Why is that (why question again)? Because she feels no one understands her. Why? Because she’s different and she feels she’s never fitted in. Aha! I sense a conflict coming on… And indeed, Anna suggested the feeling of not fitting in, in her feedback to me. So that’s what I’m changing. My heroine now has always felt like an outsider. She’s completely different to everyone in her family, is fearfully intelligent and this has always set her apart. Her conflict is that she yearns to belong. How is this a conflict? Well, the hero makes her feel she does belong in the little world she creates with him. Until his conflict blows this world apart.
Complicated huh? Anna told me the aim is to create a believable character and not just invent reasons for already existing behaviour. Can you see why it’s hard to do this with an already written mansucript?? Luckily my heroine’s behaviour is to do with confidence issues so fitting this conflict into the ms shouldn’t be too difficult. I just have to fight the urge to over-complicate it. And also I have to find a resolution for her. Which is the thing that’s getting to me now. Does her resolution involve her finally accepting her differences? They are what makes her special after all. Or does she decide that she has let her differences define her and hasn’t noticed the parts of her that do make her belong?