Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Character Motivation by Debby Mayne

Debby Mayne
Have you ever had a hard time creating your characters? Multi-published author Debby Mayne addresses what motivates her characters in today's post. Any of them sound familiar? What kinds of characters are in your work-in-progress? ~ Angie

Have you ever been to a class reunion? If not, have you met with old friends or family members that you haven’t seen in a long time? What did you do to prepare for the get-together? Were you more concerned with what they thought about you—how you looked, how you aged, and how successful you were in life—than you should have been?

The very common human condition of insecurity that stems from childhood is what motivates my characters in the Class Reunion series as they get ready to go to the big event. I wanted readers to get to know the people in my story and join them on their journeys. The editor and I agreed that the best way to do this was to write it in first person. Since I wanted to show the lives of more than one person in this group, all of these books are written in multiple points of view. To add to the immediacy and intimacy of the characters’ experiences, these books are present tense.

About the characters and their insecurities:

Priscilla Slater was class Valedictorian and voted “Most Likely to Succeed” back in high school. Everyone expected her to follow in her college professor parents’ footsteps, but she surprised everyone by dropping out of college and going to beauty school. Although she still wants her parents’ approval, she’s not willing to be miserable in a career she doesn’t want.

Tim Puckett’s dad abandoned him and his mama when he was a young boy. His dad’s brother took over and paid for Tim to go to college with the stipulation that he must work for the family business after graduation. Although Tim’s dream job isn’t being a beauty supply salesman he’s not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. The bonus is that he meets the love of his life. Too bad she doesn’t see him as more than a pal. But maybe if he helps out a little more, he’ll win the girl of his dreams.

Trudy Baynard’s beauty pageant trophies and Miss Piney Point crowns gather dust as she navigates her way through being a divorced woman who has packed on a few pounds and needs Spanx to get into her slinky dresses. She had enough sense to leave Piney Point after her no-good, womanizing man dumped her, but now she wants to see her former classmates. Her mission before the reunion is to get her high school figure back and make it look like she’s successful without Michael.

Celeste Boudreaux is tired of being the wallflower, so she forces her way on to the class reunion committee. It’s hard giving up her bad attitude, but once Priscilla works her magic on her and makes her downright pretty, she thinks she might wind up with a full dance card.

Laura Moss is exhausted. I mean, who wouldn’t be after a long day of keeping four young’uns and a sweet but alcoholic husband in line? And now that she has the class reunion to coordinate, she’s found her limits. But she can’t let on, which is why she allows others to contribute, even if they don’t do things the way she does them.

Do you see yourself in any of these characters? As I wrote their stories, I dug deep and found a piece of each of them inside me. Whether looking for acceptance like Priscilla or feeling “put upon” like Laura, my insecurities have shown themselves at some of the most inconvenient times in my life. Even as a writer, I worry that I won’t live up to the expectations of readers, editors, family members, and friends. Sound familiar?

About the Author
Debby has published more than 30 books and novellas, 400 print short stories and articles, 1,000 web articles, and dozens of devotions for women. She has worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for HSN, and creative writing instructor for Long Ridge Writers Group. She also judges the Writers Digest Annual Competition, Short-Short Contest, and Self-Published Book Competition. Three of Debby’s books have been top ten favorites by the Heartsong Presents book club. Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida received 4-1/2 stars and a Top Pick from Romantic Times Magazine in July 2009.

Pretty Is as Pretty Does
Pretty is as Pretty Does
by Debby Mayne

Priscilla Slater goes to her ten-year high school reunion with equal parts dread and eager anticipation. Even though she’s a successful owner of a chain of hair salons and no longer has the mousy brown hair, crooked teeth, and discount-store wardrobe, she still feels like the ugly duckling. But when she arrives at the reunion, Priscilla soon realizes that her old classmates aren’t exactly as she remembers them. With humor and a just a touch of sassiness, Priscilla finds herself facing her own truth—and she may be surprised at what she discovers.


  1. Thanks so much for joining us today, Debby! We're so pleased to have you here. Hats off to you for writing present tense/multiple person POV! And I love how you reached down deep to put a little of yourself in each character.

    I'll be attending my ##th (ha!) reunion soon and it'll be interesting to see how time has changed all of us. :)

  2. It's great to be here! I appreciate having the opportunity to talk about this series that's so close to my heart.

    I'd love to hear about your reunion after you get back, Angie!

    1. You're welcome and I will. I'm so glad we'll have name tags. LOL!

  3. Great examples of various insecurities, Debby. And, yes, they all sound familiar. :)

  4. Sandra, I think a lot of people will be able to relate. I don't know a single person who doesn't have at least some trepidation about going to a reunion.

  5. Hi Debby, I hate to admit how many reunions I've been to LOL. At least hubby and I went to the same high school (we were not sweethearts, though) so I don't have to worry about him. It was a small high school, though, and many of us have always been in touch. Otherwise, I'm not good in crowds of people I don't know. But I am challenging myself. Even RWA in Atlanta. (I'll let ya know how that goes LOL). I find I identify far more with characters that aren't perfect, rich, beautiful et al. But people I know do turn up in my characters.

    Ps. Our reunion chairs usually put the senior yearbook pic on our name tags LOL.

    Good post today.

  6. Sorry I'm late to the party! I can't imagine going to my class reunion. Haven't been to any, ever. I was the shy, quiet kid who only had a handful of close friends. :-)

    Debby, this sounds like a fabulous series with three-dimensional characters, but how do you keep up with all the voices floating around in your head??

    1. I've never been to any of mine, either, Dora. I only spent two years in the school and didn't hang out with many people.

  7. Tanya, I have all kinds of characters in this series, and there isn't a single one who is perfect. I hope you have the opportunity to read these books. If so, let me know what you think.

    Dora, those voice keep screaming at me, so I pretty much let them do their thing as I write. You might see a little bit of yourself in more than one character in this series. Email me (debbymayne@gmail.com) or contact me through Facebook and let me know which one.

    If you haven't already "liked" my author page (https://www.facebook.com/DebbyMayneAuthor), you might want to do it soon because we're going to have some contests starting in August.


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