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Keeping Your Characters Clothed

Trusting Readers might be unaware of the maneuvering authors must go through to keep everything running smoothly in this area.


An author's characters wander throughout the book eating, drinking, sleeping, going to the bathroom, and making love. All the things that make their existence real. During this process it is important to make sure they are decently clothed.

Case in point.


For some reason I had a bit of trouble with Farr. Not that he was flinging his clothes off and on with abandon, but there were a few occasions, when a re-edit was hastily inserted.


The first occurred when he and Katrinka were in bed together. They have just made love, and fallen asleep. They are awakened by a knock on the door. Of course Farr gets up to see who it is. Does he get out of bed completely starkers? Of course not. And what about Katrinka?


A plot device must be inserted. Farr is dressed in boxer shorts (with their convenient fly for quick lovemaking). While in bed, Farr is almost ALWAYS dressed in boxer shorts. The man has a slightly irrational paranoia about the Germans storming into his bedroom in the midst of a very vulnerable situation.


I generously put these thoughts into Katrinka's head while she observes him getting undressed. Earlier I had written that Katrinka undressed all the way down to her slip. So now we have both characters decently covered. Farr gets out of bed with his shorts on, and all is well.

Good.


(A small aside, regarding POV's (Point of View)---or "Whose Head Are We In"

At the beginning of this scene, the Reader was in Farr's head. So I had to make a reason for Farr to leave the room, to get OUT of Farr's head, so that in the next scene we can get into Katrinka's head, and she can let the Reader know why Farr keeps his shorts on. )


And you thought writing was just a matter of stringing sentences together.


Anyway, I digress.


Another scene was a bit easier. Please know that I had edited this scene hundreds of times, and never saw the error.

It is one of the more emotional scenes in the book. Farr and Katrinka are saying some very unforgivable things to one another.

In the midst of this verbal carnage, Farr leaps out of bed and runs out of the building in a rage.

Of course the man has no clothes on.

Farr NEVER has any clothes on.


I stared at the short scene, dismayed. How had this happened? How had I repeatedly missed it? So I had to haul the man back into the building and contrive a way to get him dressed. In a matter of a few sentences, we were right as rain.


Whew.

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