Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How One Writer Let Her Story Tell Itself

Joanne Jaytaine
I would like to thank StoryFinds for once again hosting me on their blog. On January 23rd I wrote a little about what I write and how I started writing. Today I want to focus on characters, one in particular, and how he insisted on a different path than I planned for him. Payton’s Pursuit is book two of The Winters Sisters series. This book took an interesting turn before I even wrote a single word of the story.

Before I started writing The Winters Sisters, I created the story arch and did basic plotting for the series – yep, pantser all the way. I planned out the hero and heroine of the first three novels. However sometimes events don’t go as planned and your characters decide to go in an entirely different direction. What do I mean? In Chasing Victory the reader is introduced to Collin McBain and Morgan Kane. These two men are the ‘lab rats’ experimented on by Biotec. The plan was that the two military men would enter, serve their purpose, and exit left, or in this case, be killed off. The scene was perfect; Collin would go out a hero, a redeeming quality based on the fact that he is unlikeable up to that point. Except the instant his life was to end, he refused to go down. Not only wasn’t he going to die, but he decided to play a much larger role in the series.

Payton's Pursuit 
Pick up a copy of Payton’s Pursuit and read as Collin McBain, a ‘throwaway’ character takes on a life of his own and grows into a real hero.

Does that mean there’s still hope for Morgan? He’s still alive at the end of Payton’s Pursuit…


Payton started to pace the office floor.
“I sure hope we have made enough headway over the last two days. The last thing I want is to cancel my trip. I really need some time away, even if it means I have to take Collin with me,” Payton said.
“Stop pacing, Payton. Sit down; work on your breathing and focus. You need to create a mental picture of your barrier. Start working on finding your picture and calm yourself,” Victory said.
Payton settled herself in a chair, closed her eyes and started her breathing exercises. A few moments later, Collin entered the room. Victory placed a finger to her lips, which informed him to enter the room quietly. He did as instructed and sat in a chair across the room from Payton. Seconds passed, minutes, finally they melted into an hour. Payton remained sitting, eyes closed, breathing evenly in and out.
“How long does it take that man to get here?” She finally asked as she opened her eyes.
Payton found herself staring into the abyss of ocean blue eyes, and a breathtaking sculptured face, framed with short, light brown hair. Collin didn’t flinch a single muscle.
“What? How long—” Her words stopped when the room began to spin and unconsciously she reached for the arms of her chair.
“He arrived over an hour ago, Payton. Clearly you can focus on a single thing. Focus and put your barriers back up,” Victory said.
Payton tried and tried, but she continued to be distracted and a nauseous feeling started to override her system.
“I can’t,” she said, irritated at the fact that she was falling apart once again in front of Collin.
“Thank you, Collin. We will continue where we left off tomorrow,” Victory said.
“No problem.” He looked back at Payton one last time. “Sorry,” he said. “I feel a little guilty since I am feeling more centered and peaceful than I have all day.”

We are celebrating the one year anniversary of Payton’s Pursuit for the entire month of February. Stop by and enter to win an audio book, autograph book, or an Amazon gift card.



  1. Thank you StoryFinds and Renee for hosting me.

  2. Very nice interview. Joanne's insights into the fiction process are definitely worth sharing.

  3. Great words on storytelling, Joanne! Thank you Story Finds for hosting this great author!

    1. Thank you, Grace. I sincerely appreciate your support.

  4. I enjoyed your article. Nice job! ��

  5. So glad you didn't kill off Collin. Funny how our characters take over, isn't it?

    1. I'm glad he just wouldn't die. Yes, it is funny. I have to say, he turned out to be a pretty good guy. :)

  6. Some of the best moments we have as writers are when a character surprises us, like Collin refusing to die!! Good interview,

  7. I have to agree, Chris. Keeps us from getting complacent and it's exciting! Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Beautifully written Joanne :)
    Another fan of the series and Colin!

  9. I love it when a character hijacks the story! I had to create a synopsis for each of my books in my series before my publisher would contract with me, and I had to insist on some leeway, since I knew I couldn't stick to a synopsis once my characters opened up.

  10. It's good you had a publisher willing to do that for you. Yes, I think watching the characters come to life is one of the most exciting aspects of writing. Thanks for your comment Becky.