Sometimes it's just best to live in a trailer park

Sometimes you have to re-evaluate where your main character lives...even if it means putting her in a trailer park.

When I first began writing my book STUCK, I got so caught up in developing new characters and figuring out the perfect ending for the story that I completely overlooked the poor choice I'd made about where my main character lived. I initially placed my young heroine, Odette, living in a neat and tidy home with a lovely yard overlooking the Atlantic ocean. Then one day it struck me how unbelievable this home was to the story I was weaving. Odette was supposed to be living with her divorced, alcoholic, bingo-addicted mother who never had enough money to pay the bills, leaving Odette to carry the burden of holding down a job she didn't like and to watch over her younger sister, Sophie. As you can see, it just didn't seem right to have Odette living in a comfortable home--her struggle for a better life wouldn't have seemed authentic--and I don't think the readers would have been able to relate to her either. 

Similarly, I found myself changing Odette's father's profession from a carpenter to a long-haul trucker. Again, it happened later in the book's development when I realized that the only way to really bring out the inner feelings of the father was to put him in a job that allowed him to finally break free from his small town. This made for a nice link with Odette's own feelings of being stuck (hint: title of the book) in her life as well.

It's good to challenge yourself on the choices you make for your characters. Make sure none of their jobs, homes, friends, cars, hobbies, or pets were just place-holder ideas until you had time to think of something better...because it just might stick! 

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