23 October 2017

My MC is Terrible (or, My Book Epiphany)

So, I had a bit of a book epiphany. And it wasn't that my MC (you know who) is a terrible character. It's that he's a terrible person! Well, sort of. Bear with me.

It's always felt like there was something I was missing from the end of the book, something I couldn't figure out. It always seemed weaker, almost flimsy when compared to the beginning of the book. I couldn't figure out how to get my book to the same conclusion but to keep it strong along the way. It seemed the path it wanted to take just made it less interesting.

Well, I was kind of smacked in the head with an idea. At work, of all places. Now, I can usually zone out and think about these things without stopping what I'm doing, but this idea seemed so intense that I actually paused and stared off into space while I considered it (hopefully no one saw me, I'm pretty sure my mouth fell open a few times). I know when an idea is this strong, then it's probably the right way to go.

So, the thing about my characters' relationship in the book is that it's all about structure. Every moment is planned, calculated. Actually, pretty much everything my MC does is calculated -- except when he's driven by emotion. As teenagers are apt to be. So as more emotions get involved over the course of the novel, the structure kind of falls apart. But I realized, why does this particular character lose the structure? It's not really like him at all. Sure, he can slip for a moment or two, show some emotion, even if it's just for the reader. But he should be able to come back to his senses and always see everything from a few steps ahead.

I realized this was my problem. He stopped calculating things, figuring them out, being manipulative--things that have been central to his character from the beginning. Why? It seems that the end of the book came because of a buildup of emotion and not an intense thought process. He really should see it coming, actually, he should see every moment of the book coming. If he doesn't know when things will happen, he should at least be aware that they will happen. The end of the book always seemed to come out of nowhere, but I think there needs to be a more obvious build to it. When emotions come into play, he should be more analyzing of his own, to see how he reacts in certain situations and how that fuels what he wants to do next. He can't just be a slave to his emotions because he never has been before. He needs to stay true to his character.

I think the tricky part now is that I need my MC to keep some things from the reader. I kinda want him to have a bit of a reveal at the end that he saw everything coming, that everything was planned out and not as spontaneous as it seemed. Hopefully this will make the ending more devastating for the reader *insert evil laugh*. So while maybe he wasn't 100% heartless throughout the book, the end will kind of smack everybody in the face (characters and readers included). I think I just have to find a good balance between what he's willing to share with the reader and how he's able to hide the rest.

Ok, I know that was super vague and did not make much sense. But the important thing is that I THINK I FINALLY FIGURED MY DAMN BOOK OUT. Hopefully once I write it out it will all make sense.

Ever been smacked by a book epiphany? Have you ever realized your character wasn't acting like him/herself and that was dragging the book down?

04 October 2017

Showing off the Insecurity

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

It's a busy day so I'll spare you all my personal nonsense (mainly that my poor Gizmo is sick AGAIN and I really can't afford to go to the vet right now...wait, this isn't sparing you, is it?) and dive right in...

First up, this month's optional question is: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose? 

Kinda sorta. I think I sometimes create characters who are versions of myself, or who share some personality traits. Jordan's best friend, Eric, is a lot like me. He's shy and awkward, and what ends up happening to him in the book kind of reflects some things that I went through with friends in high school. But it's very, very different, too, so it's not too obvious. 

I did, however, recently come to realize something about a major character that I also recently discovered about myself (what that is may be a little TMI for this post...perhaps another day!). It kind of makes a complicated character even more complicated, but I think it actually makes sense for the way I've written him. It kind of explains any unanswered questions. But I just kinda like how it was something I discovered about myself and the character! Like I had created this trait in him that I didn't even know was in me. 

And now for something completely different...

Today is also the day for the Show Us Your Writer Insecurity contest! Don't ask me why I decided to take part, I'm the least photogenic person on the planet (why does my forehead always look 10 times bigger than it does in real life???), but here goes nothin'...

Here's what you need to know about this photo:

1. I'm rockin' the IWSG swag with my sweet new notebook and mug (I love mugs!)
2. I'm also rockin' my math leggings (aka editing pants)
3. The red binder holds the third draft of Uneven Lines (so far...still only up to Chapter 12)
4. Yup, that pen on the binder is the OG FFP (I'm not lame, I swear...)
5. Coffee is life (especially when trying to edit) 

Ok, I'm done. Big shout out to my hubby for taking this photo (and the dozens of shots taken before this one that I didn't like).