As others see us

Originally, when I began writing Blythe By Name I had a whole story arc planned out for Claire Meredith and Sally that would continue in Blythe By Nature, and it was really very touching, I thought. I wanted their friendship to be rather enduring and sweet and strengthening through their shared turmoil. But as I started writing Claire, she became more and more catty, somehow. And then I started getting reviews about how you guys weren't so sure of her, and I realized that I wasn't either. And I decided that her and Sally's relationship would grow a little more troubled than I planned--and the cousins naturally began to grow apart from one another, from there.

I have to admit it was kind of a relief to write a character who was descended from the Blythes but kind of a brat. It's freeing, somehow, to have an imperfect, flawed character descended from the Holy Blythes. I don't know what it is about this story--am I jaded?--but I find that I keep testing the "practically perfect in every way" Blythes in ways that I never imagined I would. But...I kind of like doing it! I never really liked Nan and it's wickedly fun to take those frustrations out on her daughter. And it's making the story a little more fun to write!

Have you all ever changed--purposefully or inadvertently--a character's personality, because of how your reviewers reacted to him or her? Did this change the plot of your story at all? Were you sorry you changed him--do you wish that you had stuck with your original conception of that person?


I have a few more chapters of BBName to post, and then I have to think for a while on BBNature and how I want it to be. I am having so much fun writing this story, and I really hate Kevin Sullivan for holding the rights so I can't try to submit them as sequels to AoGG. I was thinking that if I changed some of the copyrighted details and reworked a few places, and did a little more historical research that they could be standalone stories, sort of an Eight Cousinsish kind of series. Which is super-odd for me, because I never, never thought I would write YA, or even wanted to!
5 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed challenging many of the perceptions regarding the Blythes in SotS, specifically their snobbish attitude toward the rest of the world. Meg (and Will) went into the fishing village with the idea that these people were "beneath" them to a certain degree, and that they were going to help list these poor ignorant fishermen from their squalor in the short time they were there (because naturally one couldn't live FOREVER in a fishing village) ... and then had all their assumptions turned upside down. I LOVED writing that.

    And Johnny has always been one of my favorite characters to write, because he is so far outside the typical "Blythe" norm. They've got plenty of handsome, charming, smart members, and then you've got the quiet ones who are still loving and kind ... and then there's Johnny. Who ends up being a war hero and makes his own way in life and grows to be a fine man.

    Polly is the only character I can think of right off the top of my head who changed based on reviewers opinions of her - and she just became more human, so I think that was a good change.

    I would love to see BBN published - and you really wouldn't have to change many characters' first names because you named them all so differently to begin with! I think this is just a charmingly delightful tale, and a refreshing change from the usual AoGG fanfics (mine included, lol!)

  2. Connie Says:

    I really loved how Meg and Will had their minds changed in SotS. And I love Johnny, and Polly, too! Funny how sometimes the best characters and plots are the ones that surprise you, or the ones you would least expect.

    I was thinking about something, Elouise: you wrote in a review of BBName that you were thinking of writing a fic that showed the Blythe's from an outsider's perspective? Well, not to be pointed or anything (EXCEPT OH I TOTALLY MEAN TO BE YOU KNOW IT) that would work really well into your Leigh fanfic, if you ever write it. No hint intended (EXCEPT YES IT IS YESSSSS!)


  3. I've always had plans (if I ever get around to writing them) for flaws in my characters in TTTT to have flaws. Hope's flaws appear after she loses her husband, Tenny's flaws appear, if you remember the original, while in the army. Gilly's girl craziness may come back to bite him in the butt some day. Cecilia's indecision will hurt her tremendously.

    I can take a look at the Sally and Claire relationship and compare it to the relationship I've had with my own cousin. We grew up together and were friends, but more like sisters. We fought from time to time, too. Then when we got into high school, she grew very wild. We went our separate ways, but we still loved each other as family. We would still occasionally get along. I remember even telling some people to stop talking about her around me because she is my cousin. Anyway, we live in different worlds, but we're still cousins. We still love each other. She was still in my wedding as a bridesmaid. I know that somewhere beneath her rougher exterior, the girl I know is there. We still send messages to each other every time it snows where one of us lives, because we miss the days we spend sledding up and down the hill where we lived.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Oh Adrienne, that's such a good point, that even when you grow away from friends within your family, they ARE still family, and so there remains a bond. I have something of a similar story with one of my cousins ... we hardly ever talk anymore, our lifestyles are so different sometimes I don't even feel like I know him, but when we see each other at family reunions, we're still each other's favorite cousin.

    Connie, I was just thinking about Leigh's story today (because starting new projects is so much more fun than finishing old ones *coughcupofjoycough*), and you're right: she would be the perfect one to have an outsider's view of the "clan." Good thinking!

  5. Connie Says:

    Adrienne, that's just what I wanted Sally and Claire's friendship to be like. BBNature is going to focus much more on the Ingleside Blythes, but the rest of the cousins will make appearances, and I'm thinking about how I want Claire and Sally to turn out. It would be easy to make them have a falling out, and high drama, but much more realistic for their friendship to have reached its peak already, and become something new. That family bond, but without the everyday closeness of before.

    We never got to see Hope lose her husband, but I imagine that's going to be a huge rethink-your-life point for her. Hope is so sweet and gregarious--and I'd hate to see that change, but at the same time, I can't wait.

    Elouise, whether you work on Leigh or Jane, I can't wait for that, either.