Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sink Or Swim..

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Recently I sat down and had a very log and completely overdue discussion with a handful of my characters that were all horribly upset at me.  It seems that I have developed a problem of jumping into the full force of things and as I jump I throw my characters mercilessly into the fiery pits of chaotic words fighting for dominance and meaning in the paragraphs I haven't quite figured out yet.

I had committed a great sin as an author. I was throwing infantile ( I mean honestly, only three days old and I'm throwing him into a war?!) characters into settings that they weren't prepared for. Situations that made them uncomfortable or, scared and sometimes they just didn't even know how to handle themselves.

As a writer I believe I should always let my characters develop to the point that I know how they would react in EVERY situation. And yet here I was rushing things because I was so excited to get to the climax of my story so that I could make the big reveal of several things I had been leading up too.

I took a step away from my laptop and went back to the drawing board, literally. I spent some time getting to know each and every one of my many characters. I learned about some silly fears, not so silly fears. I learned that Azula has a stubborn streak and Theo is braver than he realizes.

As a reader I always look for books and stories that follow the lives of people that are complicated and have to make decisions that force the plot to move forward. I look for plots that  thicken as the young heroine steals an apple from a street vendor. I look for the stories that are carried by the choices of hundreds of people.

So after realizing I wasn't meeting my own requirements of what I look for I made an oath for myself. To never throw my characters into wars, or even into an ocean yelling out, "SINK OR SWIM SUCKER!"

And just like I shouldn't bully my characters, no one should have to get bullied! Help raise awareness of anit-bullying month by checking out this awesome giveaway! Anti- Bullying Month.


Lexi Brady


Sechin Tower said...

Don't be too nice to your characters, though! I think throwing them in over their heads is a great way to learn who they are. Of course, it does leave me feeling pretty guilty about being sadistic to the poor characters...

Jordan Dane said...

OMG, is that a wig or did you dye your blonde hair black, girlie? You always look amazing.

I agree with Sechin. I do terrible things to my characters and feel bad for doing it. I cry sometimes, I feel so horrible, but you have to go there. You need them to earn their starring role and show why they deserve to be there.

One of my favorite things is to paint myself in a corner with my characters to see if I can figure a way out. Try it. Make a dartboard of terrible outcomes or obstacles and decide a plot move based on a dart throw. Ha!