Saturday 28 December 2013

Writing Characters - Lynne & Hope

Creative Characters
Lynne & Hope
LYNNE & HOPE is the story of two sisters who are ten years apart in age. Hope is fifteen and Lynne is twenty-five. When Hope was five, she was in a car accident that left her paralysed from the waist down. Lynne was fifteen at the time and felt abandoned by her parents because they spent so much time with Hope. By the time the story takes place, Lynne is working at the local crime lab and Hope is starting year ten. She's home schooled because her parents wanted to protect her from any bullying that may have taken place at school. Despite Hope's pleas that she be allowed to attend the local secondary school, they have stood their ground.

Lynne & Hope do not get on, though not for lack of trying on Hope's part. When Lynne is accused of being involved in a serial murder case, the last person she wants to turn to for help is her sister. She doesn't have much of a choice when she is suspended from her job and the police are sure she's guilty. She goes on the run and finds that she has to place her trust in her little sister to clear her name. If Hope messes up, Lynne could lose her job and never be able to work in the forensic field again. She could even
go to prison. When push comes to shove, will Hope be able to help the sister that hates her? Or will she fail and ruin Lynne's life in the process?

Now that you have some idea what happens in the story, I'll go on to talk about what it was like to write the main characters, namely the two sisters, Lynne and Hope. The story is told from both of their points of view and took me about eighteen months to finish. The story is set in 2005 which is why there is no access to things such as Facebook and Twitter.

Lynne was an easy enough character to write in some ways. She was self centred, acting like the victim in all of this and it's not until I really started to explore her feelings about Hope that I was able to show that a lot of her resentment was directed towards her parents because of the way they treated her after Hope's accident. Her attitude towards Hope was that she had wrapped her parents round her little finger and she could do no wrong. Lynne is twenty-five and saving up to move out of her parents home and into her own apartment. She doesn't involve herself too much with her family, choosing to eat her meals separately and doing as much overtime as she's allowed so that she can get out of the house quicker. She may be twenty-five, but she acts like she's closer to Hope's age at times.

When the tainted evidence comes to light, Lynne's first thought is that Hope did something and messed up the blood samples and it's not until she's arrested that she realises just how much trouble she's in. Without giving away the whole story, I can just say that Lynne doesn't want to accept Hope's help at first because she's angry at her. She sees Hope as a pain in the butt who keeps begging her to have some semblance of a relationship.

As far as character development goes, I enjoyed exploring Lynne's feelings towards her sister and how much she was willing to blame her for when the situations were out of Hope's control. Towards the end of the book, I was finally able to show Lynne that a lot of the decisions she disagreed with in regards to Hope were not her sister's fault. I enjoyed seeing her grow as a character and I like to think that she was finally able to recognise that her anger at the way she was treated after Hope's accident should be redirected.

Hope is a typical fifteen year old... except for the wheelchair and the paralysis. She was the first character I wrote as being in a wheelchair full time and in some respects, she echoed my own life at that point. Hope knew that her sister didn't like her, but she still tried to win her over. When Lynne was accused of murder, she was quick to jump to her defence, even going as far as lying to try and help her. When Lynne goes on the run, it's Hope that keeps digging to find the truth and it's Hope that ultimately pays the price when they do find the killer.

She was a great character to write, learning and exploring disability and how it would have an impact on her as a person. Hope doesn't really remember life before her accident and in some ways feels smothered by her parents. For instance, her father now works from home just in case Hope needs him, but she's desperate to get out into the world and find her own way. She believes in Lynne's innocence and even when Lynne accuses her of contaminating the samples, she's quick to jump to not only her own defence but her sister's as well. She's also desperate to have as much as a normal life as possible. She wants to go to school so that she can do Science, something she couldn't easily do in a home setting because of the experiments she'd need to do. She wants to go into the forensic field like her sister and while she didn't know all the details about what Lynne actually does at work, she's an avid watcher of CSI which comes to bite her in the arse a few times! Overall, out of the two of them, I found it easier to write Hope because she seemed to have her head on straight despite her young age.

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