Characters

I’m a bit late with this post, I know, but today was a busy day. I’m working on the next part of the story, changing things, realigning the story to match Dreaming of More, and rewriting parts I don’t like.

That was the case today. I was working over the instigation of the conflict in Yours, Mine and it just struck me as wrong. I tried doing it, my beta reader—who’s been amazing during this scramble to get Yours, Mine done—didn’t walk away with the right feeling, so I headed back to the drawing board to ratchet up the conflict some more, but when I did, I didn’t like that part of the story anymore. I didn’t like what it did to the characters and I didn’t want that to happen to one character in question.

So I tossed it out and rewrote it.

And that is why this blog post is late. Because after that I had to go and write the next chapter to see what happened next (no plotting, remember), and then it was time for the kids to come inside which meant showers or baths, getting all the farm clothes in the washing machine, supper, cleaning up, walking up to the chickens, and then a last minute change of plans for tomorrow. The day just went poof and now it’s almost tomorrow. My proofreader is out for the night, so I won’t hit publish until morning.

♥♥♥

Now, for the actual post, seeing as that up there had very little to do with Dreaming of More, which we’re supposed to be talking about this week…

Remember how I said this dream was an almost-complete story and how the story included people? It was understood from the very beginning that I’d need to have kids in the book, so to make it easier on myself, I decided to make them 2, 4, and 7. The ages of our three youngest. To make it even easier, I gave them our kids’ personalities. And that’s about when those three kids became some of my favorite characters to write. Ever.

They’re not major players, they don’t get as much screen time as the main characters, but they hold a special place in my heart. Because…

Clayton, the quiet, withdrawn little boy is so very much like Baby, our 7 year old. She’s super shy, can barely look at strangers, and even around people she knows, she’s the sort who might huddle in the corner by herself hoping no one will notice her. If she’s not comfortable around the person speaking to her, she’ll hide her face or stare off in the distance and ignore them. And just like Clayton, if she catches someone looking at her, she’ll duck her head or scowl at them.

Riley is little Buddy, our youngest son. When I wrote this book, we were coming off a lengthy stretch where almost every week Josh and I were off at some doctors appointment. Our oldest had a lump that needed to be removed at the children’s hospital in the city, so we’d head off with him and leave the other kids at home with their grandparents. They were fine at home, but the entire year up to that point had been marked with illness or hospital visits.

Buddy landed himself in hospital twice, and struggled with complications from the flu that lasted for quite some time. To deal with all the craziness, he attached himself to his Daddy. Whenever Josh walked in the door, little Buddy would throw himself into Josh’s arms, wrap his arms around Daddy’s neck and not let go. When Josh sat down, little Buddy was in his lap, or squeezed in between Daddy and the end of the couch, snuggling against Josh’s arm, or pinching his lip.

Riley’s habit of pressing himself against Norah’s side and pulling on his lip—that was what little Buddy would do, sitting there squeezed up against Daddy, just pinching his lip, letting it slowly slide between his thumb and finger, pinching it again, letting it slide…

Riley’s tractor fascination was all Buddy too. And some of his comments. Hunnerd? Straight from the kid’s mouth.

Elsie was patterned after our little Bear. The wet spot on her pants? That was Bear one day when she came inside after running along the driveway and getting a single drop of water on her pants (no, I didn’t change her: yes, it dried). Elsie’s wails of, “Don’t weave me! I ‘tay wit you!” were quotes from Bear too.

You see, at the same time little Buddy attached himself to his Daddy, Bear attached herself to me. For similar reasons. She hadn’t spent any time in hospital, but…during one of the first appointments we took our oldest to, Bear tripped and fell into the doorjamb, breaking her collar bone. She screamed, understandably, but no one was there to witness what happened. The grandparents were able to piece together some of the story from the other little kids, but not all.

We knew she’d hurt herself, but not knowing what happened, we decided to keep an eye on her. Josh had to go to work the next day and I can’t remember if it was that day, or the day after that when we realized we needed to take her somewhere. She was no longer crying uncontrollably, but she was still favoring her arm and she cried if she used it. The only problem: I had no way to get her to the doctor. So I started praying about what to do…and Josh walked in the door. He’d gotten off work early.

We were able to get it x-rayed and Bear spent the next 4-6 weeks with her arm in a sling. And she couldn’t stand to be away from me. We think it was because she hurt herself when I was gone, so she refused to let me go. Whenever I went to another room, she’d come racing after me, one hand stretched out, crying, “Don’t weave me! Don’t weave me! I ‘tay wit you! I ‘tay wit you!”

It wasn’t hard to write the kids into the story. To get the dialog right, I carried a notebook around with me, jotting down what they said. I ended up with pages more research material than I needed, but I have it for next time if those kids show up again.

Bear eventually stopped needing to be with me all the time. Her bone healed just fine, she can go outside with her brothers and sisters to play now, and doesn’t get upset if I leave the room. Little Buddy is still the tractor boy, he still attaches himself to his Daddy anytime he can, and prefers for Daddy to carry him everywhere. Baby is still the shyest kid in the family, but she’s able to talk to her grandparents now where she could barely look at them before. On a few occasions she’s even spoken to them of her own accord.

Yeah, maybe they will make it back into another book. A little older perhaps, but still the same three kids. ♥

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