Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers


Do your characters have dangerous curves?

woman-591576_1920My novel Curva Peligrosa was published in 2017, but as I’m revising a new novel for publication in 2021, I’m reminded of the many stages it will go through before final production.

With Curva, for a month, I revised the content yet again (I had already revised it on my own multiple times, too many to count!), based on recommendations and/or suggestions made by my publisher Jaynie at Regal House. Her reading of the book was intensive, close, and detailed. She gave me many valuable ideas about my characters, the plot, and so much more. I didn’t act on all of her suggestions, but I did incorporate a good deal so that I was ready to move on to the next stage. That included more content revisions but also focused on proofreading corrections.

No surprise, the main character in this work is Curva Peligrosa, but that isn’t the name I started with. Lupita was her name originally, yet after the opening scene, when a tornado hits this small Southern Alberta town called Weed, throwing the place into turmoil, and the storm drops the main character’s outhouse into the center of town, I felt stuck. Her personality eluded me, a disappointment after my first rush of excitement in starting the narrative.

I knew this character was born in southern Mexico, but it wasn’t until my husband and I visited Mexico City that Curva came into focus. We had booked into Las Mananitas in Cuernavaca for five nights, a town two hours by car from Mexico City. A driver picked us up from the airport and took us to our lovely destination. It was during this ride that I kept seeing the words curva peligrosa pop up on signs each time we took a curve.

I asked the driver what the word meant, and he said “Dangerous curves.” I knew then that my character’s name would be, yes, you guessed it: Curva Peligrosa.

She immediately came into view. I could visualize her. I also could hear her voice and imagine her personality. She turns out to be a charismatic larger than life (over six-foot-tall and voluptuous) woman who not only is a sharp shooter but also travels the Old North Trail for 20 years with her horses, dog, two parrots, and a goat—a wilderness route running from Mexico to Canada that she manages to infiltrate and transcend. She also throws dangerous curves at residents of Weed, Alberta, that forever changes their lives. But you’ll have to read the novel to find out more!


2 thoughts on “Do your characters have dangerous curves?

  1. Loved your peligrosa story. It reminded me of a time my husband and i drove from the main airport in Mexico to a small fishing village a looong way away. We kept seeing the sign PELIGROSA. “I wonder what that means?” I would say. We didn’t find out until much later!

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