Living Vicariously Through My New Character

Writers don’t just write. We research. And we think. A lot.

That’s what I’ve been doing the past two weeks. I’m venturing into a world of mystery. And, I’m birthing a new character to live in that world.

The vast majority of books I’ve read in my adulthood have been of the Mystery/Thriller/Suspense genres. Yet, I started out writing 20th Century historicals. I won’t bore you with reasons why. Just know that I’ve righted myself and am now going deep into writing a private detective/mystery series.

This story has evolved from the ideas and plans I wrote here in December, where it was a much different set of circumstances. The transformation a simple idea can take is astounding, even to the writer who developed it.

In the past two weeks, I’ve been creating the personality of my main character. She’s no wimpy girlie-girl. Getting to know her was much like raising one of my own children but at warp speed.

When I began, I had no idea that a story character could take over the reigns and develop the remainder of her bio on her own, but she has! Talk about independent and headstrong!

Her 1st draft name is Sloane Reed. Sloane has decided she needs some kickass skills but not so many that she’s anything like superwoman.

She has vulnerabilities like you and I but hates to admit that so, I created those for her. It wasn’t easy getting her to agree to my choices but, I’m no wimpy girl either.


One of the skills she insists on claiming is that of expert sharpshooter. Sloane is a deadeye with everything from a revolver to an assault rifle to a submachine gun. I told her that’s a lot of firepower for a private investigator and most of it will go unused but, she was adamant.

I tried explaining that I have no experience in shooting guns. 

She said, “Learn.”


Sloane has given me no choice but to learn to shoot and experiment with a variety of firearms. There is a shooting range in my teeny town and they’ll rent me a gun or two for practicing. I’m also arranging for some instructive pointers. I’ll let you know how I make out.

I have some experience with target practice. I learned archery in high school and, for many years after, I practiced wherever I could find a range. I’m getting back into that, as well.

I wonder if I can still even see the bullseye, let alone hit it?

So, I figure, if I’m a good shot with a bow and arrow, how hard could shooting a gun be? 😉 I guess I’ll find out.

Apparently, being a skilled markswoman is not enough for Sloane. She also wants to be an expert in martial arts. You know what that means, right?

Yes, I’ll have to gain some experience in martial arts, myself. I love kickboxing, though I’ve only done it in aerobics class.

I have a feeling Sloane would chose something more lethal.

Tae Bo is a great combination of the boxing I love and the martial arts she wants. 

Sloan will get the credibility she needs in the realm of fitness and fighting.

Sloane has also informed she needs a pet but, not an ordinary pet. One that matches her personality. Hmm…I’ve had a decent variety of pets throughout my life. I’m sure I can come up with something to suit her. No ordinary puppies or kittens for this bad girl!


This tug of war on personality traits, skill sets and other amenities with Sloane will be ongoing until the book is complete. I don’t mind. She’s becoming quite the SSS womanSexy, Smart and Strong!

I’m going to LOVE living vicariously through my new best friend, Sloane Reed!


Want all the juicy details on Sloane and her friends, her job, her home and her quirks? They will be available EXCLUSIVELY to subscribers of:

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All those who sign up for my newsletter between January 16th and January 31st will automatically be eligible to win an Amazon gift card and a sampling of Sloane’s favorite indulgence.

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What character might you live through vicariously? Please fill me in!




  1. Sheila Seabrook  January 19, 2013

    Sloane sounds like she’s going to be an exciting character to write about, Marcia. I’m looking forward to reading your series. And I’m also looking forward to hearing about all of this new stuff you’re going to learn. Have fun!

  2. Pam  January 18, 2013

    I like Sloane already, and am also so excited about the new developments in your writing! The first thought I had on pets was that she sounds like she could be a ferret girl, but that may be just me : ).

    Love that you’re getting out learning about the things your character wants to be – and it sounds like she’s setting you up for some interesting life experiences! When I think about it, my female character for my first is a lot like me personality-wise, although I did need to do some historical research to make my portray of the ghost lore she is researching plausible. As for my male character, his thing is bars and picking up women. Since my parents run a pub I had the bar thing covered, and I’m am relying on observations and conversations with a few male friends who unintentionally inspired his character to flesh him out : ).
    Pam recently posted..Football And Our Inner FreakitudeMy Profile

    • Marcia Richards  January 18, 2013

      Somehow I knew you’d suggest ferrets! I may give her a giant of a dog as a sub for having a boyfriend. She doesn’t meet guys she’d like to date much and doesn’t really have time for one.
      Testing out things she might do will be fun. However, the suggestion below that Sloane be into parkour…I love the idea and it would work well for her, but it’s probably not something I’m going try. LOL I’m a little too old for that type of activity.
      If you like to research, historical is fascinating! Have fun with that. I love that your friends “unintentionally inspired his character”! Do you think they’ll recognize themselves in your book?
      Marcia Richards recently posted..Living Vicariously Through My New CharacterMy Profile

  3. K.B. Owen  January 17, 2013

    Hey, Marcia! Welcome to the mystery writer’s realm! Hope I had a “little” something to do with pushing you over the edge, LOL. Good luck and enjoy the ride!

    K.B. Owen recently posted..Check out my new 19thc page!My Profile

    • Marcia Richards  January 17, 2013

      I needed you and others to push me over to mysteries. It’s scary. Just want to do it right. I need some ‘standard practice’ tips for writing mysteries. Don’t want to flub this up. Do you know of any, Kathy?
      Marcia Richards recently posted..Living Vicariously Through My New CharacterMy Profile

  4. Donna@Gardens Eye View  January 17, 2013

    Love the new character…hate guns though…they are harder to shoot then they appear as I have shot many…long story…did not like them even after I learned to use them. But great for doing research…looking forward to hearing how you make out.
    Donna@Gardens Eye View recently posted..They Never Showed Up For The DanceMy Profile

    • Marcia Richards  January 17, 2013

      I’d really like to hear that story about you and guns. It’s interesting that you didn’t like them. Now i can’t wait to see if my enthusiasm for learning to shoot wanes for any reason after learning! I’ll keep you posted!
      Marcia Richards recently posted..Living Vicariously Through My New CharacterMy Profile

  5. hma88  January 16, 2013

    A great way to see thru different eyes and also expand on what you’ve wanted to do or have in the past. Keep up the good work!

  6. Diana Douglas  January 16, 2013

    I love that we get to live vicariously through our characters. Particularly when it’s a kickass character like Sloan. I’m currently submerged in the experiences of a Phoenix paramedic who gets hurled back into the 17th century during the English Civil War. No matter how many times I tell her she has to clean up her language, she has a mouth like a construction worker. She’s going to get us both in trouble.
    Diana Douglas recently posted..THE DEVIL’S OWN LUCK IS FREE!!!My Profile

    • Marcia Richards  January 17, 2013

      Haha, Diana! I love it! Your girl must have gotten used to that language listening to the guys she works with! The story sounds intriguing! I want to know more about how she is flung back in time and WHY?
      Marcia Richards recently posted..Living Vicariously Through My New CharacterMy Profile

  7. Angela Wallace  January 16, 2013

    Sloane sounds like so much fun! I think I’m going to love her.

    I live vicariously through a kickass character similar to her. Lexa is a skilled martial artist as well, but instead of being a sharpshooter, she’s handy with a sword. And is never afraid to express her opinion or displeasure, something I can never bring myself to do!
    Angela Wallace recently posted..“What’s That Face?”My Profile

    • Marcia Richards  January 17, 2013

      Isn’t it just so much fun to take bits of ourselves and bits of personality we wish we had and make a new character with them? I love that she’s named Lexa. That’s my eldest granddaughter’s name!
      Now you could go take a couple of fencing lessons to find out what it’s like to use a sword. And you could get a martial arts dvd, too!
      Kickass women are a blast to write about! I’ll have to go read more about Lexa. Thanks, Angela!
      Marcia Richards recently posted..Living Vicariously Through My New CharacterMy Profile

  8. Patricia Sands  January 16, 2013

    Wow, Marcia, you are getting into character! When do your Tae Bo lessons begin?
    I’m not nearly as dangerously exciting with my characters as you are but I enjoyed every minute of going along on their travels in France in my new novel. No surprise there!
    I can’t wait to hear more about Sloane!
    Patricia Sands recently posted..Be a Possibilitarian!My Profile

    • Marcia Richards  January 17, 2013

      Hey, I’d take traveling to France for research any day, Patricia! Okay, so now that Inion has given me the idea of parkour, which i think is fabulous, maybe Sloane won’t be a Tae Bo expert but, I think I’ll get a Tae Bo (Billy Blanks) dvd and learn it anyway. I used to watch my kids at their karate classes and wish I could do that. Well, now I’m going to, even if it’s just at home!
      I can’t wait for your new book to come out! I wonder where your third book will take place? 😉
      Marcia Richards recently posted..Living Vicariously Through My New CharacterMy Profile

  9. Renée Schuls-Jacobson  January 16, 2013

    I love this! How cool that you get to live vicariously through your character! I love it. Sloan sounds fiery! And fabulous. Can’t wait to hear more.
    Renée Schuls-Jacobson recently posted..The Happy House: A Gift I Didn’t Think I DeservedMy Profile

  10. Inion N. Mathair  January 16, 2013

    Congrats Marcia!! A new character and wow does she sound great. Looking forward to learning more about Sloan. Taking up target shooting….wow, good luck with that. Archery is cool as well. Also, when you were talking about martial arts, Inion wondered if you had considered making Sloan a traceuse. Parkour is really fun to watch and you don’t see a lot of it.
    Best of luck as you flesh her out.
    Inion N. Mathair recently posted..A Different PerspectiveMy Profile

    • Marcia Richards  January 17, 2013

      Oh, what a great idea parkour is! Yes, yes, yes! Thanks for mentioning that and thank Inion for thinking of it! That would be perfect for Sloane! It’s philosophy fits her pretty well, too! And she was in the military so she knows all about obstacle courses. Oooh, I’m so excited to write a scene with Sloane using her parkour expertise!
      Marcia Richards recently posted..Living Vicariously Through My New CharacterMy Profile


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