Dead Weight?

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Just received my manuscript critique back from my developmental editor, and there’s lots of good news. However, one of the ‘needs to be fixed’ items is Jonathan, the dead guy. I didn’t do much character background work on him and his motivations, because hey, he dies on page 1. We do learn more about him as Penny tries to solve the murder, but the editor says that’s not enough. 

So I did what’s called ‘deep dive’ for dearly departed Jonathan, as I’d done with my other characters. I put him on the shrink’s couch and asked him the tough questions to get a peek into his world view. We knew he was an incurable gambler, and always has to start with a new pack of cards when he plays poker. And we knew he could be generous with his wealth – I mean, he’s treating seven friends to a two-week vacation at Antigua Race Week!  

But I discovered one trait that gets him into trouble is not admitting his mistakes. It’s been pounded into his brain since he could first understand language: Davenports don’t make mistakes. He’s also a bit arrogant, another result of his upbringing. He learned at his father’s knee how to treat people beneath him.

He’s also vain about his looks, and usually takes his personal trainer with him when he travels. (He didn’t bring him this time, mainly because I just could not fit one more character in this book!) He keeps fit because he thinks that’s what women value most – not kindness, not a good heart, but six-pack abs. When he meets a new woman, no matter the setting, his first reaction is to assess whether he has a chance with her.

And his generosity? Well, money is a tool, right? So why not use it to get what you want? Except that leads to manipulating people, which ends up working against him. Because deep down what he yearns for is un-bought validation, one true friend who likes him regardless of his money. Now, to weave this all in to the book…stay tuned!