Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Cliched Characters #MFRWauthor

Cliched characters, what can they be? Actually they're stereotypes and have been used time and time again. The nosy neighbor, the harried waitress, the gruff cop. We've all seen them time and time again in book after book.

I write a lot about nurses and doctors. Easy to stereotype. In fact sometimes editors seem to do this. I once had a book rejected not because of the writing or of the plot but because one of the characters didn't fit the editor's idea of a nurse. She wanted a stereotype - sweet caring woman but in my story this woman was anything but. And she wasn't the main character of the story. She was one of the hero's and heroine'e enemy. Someday I'll re-do that book but that character won't fit the stereotype. She'll pretty much remain the same nasty woman.

So how does one do this. Think of the character is occupation and recall the stereotypical portrayal of the character. The nosy neighbor is one. We may have even known one. So we allow the neighbor to be nosy but we don't have her become a gossip spreading tales over the neighborhood. We have her using this material say for blackmail or even to help people sub rosa with their troubles.

Give the character who could be a stereotype a conventional life. The gruff cop. Give him a family and a desire to work nine to five. Show him with his wife and children and suddenly he becomes more real.

So by a little work the stereotyped cliched character can become more even by making them less.

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