The Women of 1929: Working with Arianna

Identity and craft mockup with retro filter effect

I thought I’d do a blog series on what it's like to work with each character. It sounded like fun. And who is more fun than Arianna? FUN FACT: When I first started writing 1929, I hated her and thought the readers would, too. I assumed that she was as shallow as the first scene painted her to be and she would only come in to other scenes to cause trouble or further the readers hate. We even played around with the idea of her leaving for good and writing in a good wife for Caleb. I think she heard us and dug her heels in, refusing to leave. While she does like to stir things up when she can,  she’s starting to grow into a much more well-rounded person.

By force, of course.

Arianna is definitely one of the easier characters to work with. She's always talking, complaining or gossiping. I only have to write, “Her eyes narrowed, slid to the side...” and she is more than happy to tell me what she's irked about at the moment.

When I need to up the drama or the tension the recipe is easy. Just add Arianna.

Before her evolution started, she was a terrible person. At least that’s what she wants you to believe. She hid behind that hard, catty exterior to keep you from seeing the real her and to keep people from getting too close. I have immensely enjoyed watching her grow and change, though she is the most resistant.

Readers first met Arianna as she was attempting to run away after the big crash. A materialistic flighty wife. Not the best first impression. I didn't know exactly what there was to her past the stone cold glares and snarky comebacks, but I knew there had to be something else.

Her back story is very slowing revealing itself. In trying to get to the root of her attitude, she's proven to be a hard onion to peel. I know that she grew up well off and her father slowly drank and gambled away their fortune. From the prequel I know that Caleb (who had just sold his grandfather's farm and was running away from his love troubles) met her while he was on the road.

He was smitten, she saw an opportunity. It's no secret to readers that Caleb presented a chance to escape a sinking ship. And when her love is tested later, she quickly shows signs of cracking. Club hopping, drinking, running away, having affairs...all the usual symptoms of not being able to deal with the realness of it all. But she's Arianna, so we forgive her. Because let's be honest. The series would lack a certain spark without her. 

She is currently pulling off the farm wife role well enough. (Her Season Two nervous breakdown excluded, of course). Mainly because she's creative enough to pretty up her surroundings with a natural decorative talent. She dreams of opening a hair salon and finding side work as a wedding/party planner. I think that's her saving grace. Her ability to beautify her surroundings. It makes one wonder if she'll ever completely give up trying to recreate her life of comfort and luxury. I suppose we'll see. 

Looking into her future, I think she needs to find volunteer work somewhere. A cause to be passionate about that's bigger than herself. (She's staring at me with one eyebrow cocked and her lips pursed.) Sigh. I get the feeling that this isn't her idea of a good time, We'll have to battle it out on the page, I'm sure.  But while I've got her riled up, what volunteer work do you picture Arianna doing?