Monday, March 16, 2015

K is for Keepsake

Ana asks:  Can keepsakes can reveal things about our protagonists?

In my daughter's web series,, her character has a locket with her father's picture. She shows it to everyone she meets, hoping they've seen him. Finding her father is her story goal.

The following excerpt is from my WIP. Written yesterday, it's still rough, but I think the unusual keepsake allows me to reveal a significant event in my hero's life.

            Blade lit a lamp in the barn, stood beside his saddle, and touched the leather lace that he’d knotted into a ball five years ago. Hidden inside was the ring he’d bought for Candy.
He wanted to offer it to Stormy before he…before they made love. Then he’d be able to look her fathers in the eye come sunup.
As he picked at the unforgiving knot, he relived that terrible night.
He made passionate love to Candy. As soon as he rolled off her, she got up, put on her rhinestone robe, and sat at her dressing table, fixing her hair.
Heart thumping in his chest, he waited for her to finish. Then he rose from her bed, crossed to the fireplace, where he’d removed his clothes, and fished in his pocket for the ring box. “I’ve saved enough money for us to go.”
            She turned and tore into him with a fury. “Do you still expect me to eat dirt day in and day out when you could give me a grand house with servants? When I could wear fine clothes and jewels? Eat in restaurants and attend society balls? Living on a ranch is your dream, not mine. If you loved me, you’d give me what I want.”
            He felt ripped in two. He pleaded but could not convince her. He shouted, and she laughed at him. On the verge of striking her, he hurled a brush into the dressing table mirror, shattering it and all her seductive, hollow promises into a million jagged pieces.
            Two days later, Jared announced at dinner that he and Miss Candace Kennedy were engaged to be married. She wanted a sumptuous wedding with Blade as best man.
            Olivia Masters was ecstatic. A wedding to plan. “When are you going to find a nice girl. Blade?” she’d asked.
            George Masters thumped Jared on the back. “Grandchildren.”
            Late that night, he’d packed his things and headed for Kansas.
            The knot slid free. The solo-diamond band dangled on the leather lace.
Staring at the token of his infatuation, he felt a great weight slide off his shoulders. He’d been so young and lonely, and Candy was a consummate gold digger.
His family deserved her. George, so sure of his ability to outsmart competitors. His mother, who’d lectured endlessly about good breeding and proper matches. And Jared. Poor Jared. Convinced he’d finally bested his big brother.
For years, he’d wanted to tell them about Candy, but now, it didn’t matter. He’d found what he wanted. If he had anything to regret, it was that they’d never get to meet Stormy and her family.
            One day soon, when they were caught up on work, he’d take her to Yankton and get the ring sized to fit. But by making her his fiancée now, he’d protect her from Vance and give Propserity’s gossips something new to wag their tongues about. Not a bad night’s work.
            Feeling as excited as Kris Kringle on Christmas Eve, he slipped the ring into his pocket, extinguished the light, and headed for the house.

What do you think? Are keepsakes good tools for story reveals?


  1. I think a keepsake can be a good way to establish continuity and to reveal backstory. It's also great motivation.

  2. I can't say I've ever used a keepsake in any of my books but I think it's an idea worth thinking about. It would certainly reveal that a character has always been in a person's thoughts and put a whole different aspect on things.

  3. I couldn't recall using any keepsake in my novels, except for the Victorian portrait and dress in 'Irish Inheritance' which became an integral part of the story. Then I remembered the Celtic knot pendant that Guy bought for Jenna - which resulted in this comment in one of the reviews on Amazon: "We travelled to Ireland this year and this story inspired me to visit the Connemara area which was gorgeous and purchase a Connemara marble pendant necklace in Clifden."
    Needless to say, that made my day!

  4. When Noah and Abby got married in Wild Wedding Weekend, he gave her a pendant to wear that had been handed down in his family. Every Grant bride had worn it.

    And the I'm going to get totally nit-picky on you here. I don't know if I'm on board with the idea of the hero giving the heroine a ring he bought for someone else. Maybe it could be a family heirloom or something...he could still recall the scene from his past which would reveal a lot about himself. (Just my opinion...feel free to ignore... :)

    1. Debra, that thought occurred to me too! As you say, better if it was a family heirloom, and not a ring he bought for the woman who then dumped him (even though he never gave it to her).

    2. I agree with Debra. That was my first thought too, I just didn't want to say anything.