In my book, White Light, I play on the difference between characters. The contrast of age, belief system and personal needs brings out the best and sometime the worst in them.
The Characters Source for drama:
- Emma: A young woman who is emotionally and socially stunted inherits a house.
- Great-Aunt Alice: A ghost, psychic and murder victim leaves her best friend alone and her grandniece with a new start.
- Mrs. Perkins: An older woman who has outlived her peers needs a new reason to get up each morning and takes Emma under her wing.
Three women: One older woman alive, one older woman passed on, and one young woman beginning her adult life.
And they all need each other to get what they want.
In this case it is to solve a murder.
Not all mysteries are dark and in my case I wanted to add some laughs making the work more of a beach read.
Adding the fun
I’ve included a few quotes to hopefully, and here’s where I cross my fingers, show you my approach in lightening the mood. Emma has just failed Mrs. Perkins’s psychic ability test.
I turn on my heel and take the cleaver back to the kitchen. I’m not sure if putting it back where I found it is a good idea. Would Mrs. Perkins prefer to wash it before it is put away? As I’m mulling this over, Mrs. Perkins enters the kitchen still tucking her blouse into her slacks.
Her slippers slap the floor tiles as she heads for the coffeepot. “I still don’t understand what took you so long. I should’ve had a plan B, apparently you are unreliable.”
“Unreliable? Me? What were you doing all tied up in the hall closet anyway?” I drop the cleaver in the drawer.
Mrs. Perkins still doesn’t believe Emma isn’t psychic and pushes Emma into doing readings like her Great-Aunt Alice.
A blazing sun overhead suggests a warm summer’s day. Mrs. Perkins tends her Lily of the Valley with a small purple watering can. “Oh, good you’re up. Stay right there.” She puts the can down and pulls off her gloves, pointing a forefinger skyward which I’m interpreting as hold on for a moment. She smiles and goes in her back door.
I rub my eyes and take in the deep blue sky through the high leaves. The wonderful drone of a lawn mower in the distance soothes me.
I sit on a patio chair, put my feet up on a planter, sip my coffee, and am almost asleep again when Mrs. Perkins calls from her yard.
“Here’s a handful of messages for you.” She waves little slips of paper at me. “Make sure you call each one of them back. They made me promise.”
I carefully put my mug down on the cement and join her at the fence, scanning the top message. “This is asking for a reading. We talked about this.”
“Yes, but it isn’t up to me to tell them. That’s up to you.”
I didn’t start this. She made this mess. “This is getting out of hand.”
“I didn’t start this.”
I slap my forehead. “Yes you did.”
“Well, I didn’t mean to.”
Now that I believe. I read a few more messages, and, when I glance up, she’s gone back to her flowerbed. “Oh, no, you’re not getting out of this that easy. Come back here. Put the can down and talk to me.” My gaze drops down to my toes. I’m wearing neon green nail polish.
Omigod! I didn’t do that.
Now, I need her for a different reason. “Mrs. Perkins…Millie…I’ve had another episode.”
Fleshing them out takes time
I know a lot about my players and what I know about them helps me keep them in character and push the story forward. By the time the book was edited and published they were living breathing people.
What do you do to enhance the drama, flesh out the characters, and lighten the mood? All of us are dying to hear. 🙂