Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Those Tricky Characters #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLoveAuthor

While reading From First Draft To Finished Novel by Karen Wiesner a came across some things about characters that she mentioned may make the reader or worse an editor scratch his or her head. I've had a character of many try to pull one of the tricks. Sometimes it's the same character doing this.

The main character flees when things get interesting. Is it the character or the writer who chickens out on writing that intense scene. I'm afraid in my case it's the writer. This could be part of the character's character but this isn't always the case. You need to grit your teeth and write the scene.

Head-hopping. Now I've seen this done skillfully by a few writers but bouncing from head to head can be confusing. Whose eyes are showing this scene. That's a way to look at the story and decide which character's viewpoint would strengthen the scene. Sticking to one viewpoint per scene gives the reader an eye-view of the action. Using multiple viewpoints can muddy the water.

The character's emotions aren't really theirs. If you know your character, their emotions will be what they're feeling. If they're replaced by things not in character, the reader will shake their head and want to move to a different story.

Secondary characters suddenly become more interesting than the major characters in the story. You need to slap them down and show them the major players are the interesting ones. If it gets too bad, you can promise them a story of their own. I've fallen into this trap and I know some of my friends have done the same. Work on the main characters and just let those scene stealers fade.

Allowing some magical power to solve the main character or character's problems rather than having the major players find the solution. Called the "God in the machine," something to avoid at all costs. The reader may finish the book but they won't be satisfied with the results. If there's something that might seem like this to end the story, make sure you've written enough before to show this is possible,

Choosing the wrong characters for the story or having the setting be totally wrong for the characters. You might be able to pull this off but it makes for harder work. Advice is don't put the bull in the china shop. He doesn't belong there. The same with your characters. Make sure the setting and the characters can work hand in hand.

1 comment:

Calisa Rhose said...

Excellent advice. I too fall into some of these traps, especially wanting to find the easy way out of writing tough scenes or ending a book. Tank goodness for those who read it for me before submission and make me do it right. :)