Dec 18, 2012
First off, please, please, please forgive my absence. The holiday season has hit and that's thrown my entire blogging schedule off. I actually meant to do it yesterday. Apparently that got me nowhere. I'm going to work on getting it in for most of the week, though, so stay tuned!
So I've covered some of the usual topics such as what your character loves. But I know that we all have those days where you just sit down and think, "Now what could I do to make so-and-so's life worse?"
Just as everyone loves something, everyone hates something. No matter how convinced you are of being invincible, you're going to be scared of at least one thing.
Like no longer being invincible anymore.
Maybe it's not something so simple. Maybe it's more complex, like Garth. Garth had no power as a child when he was beat and tortured. Now that he has power, wouldn't you think that he'd be terrified of losing it?
Like so, things in our past upset us--make us leery of them for the rest of our lives. While it could be something so simple as becoming sick of chocolate because you just so happened to eat a chocolate bunny before catching the flu, it could be something big like a near death experience.
Or watching someone else nearly die.
Some characters might try to hide their fear from you and everyone else, but it's there. No one's fearless. And no one's loveless. There are always ways to make things worse on them. If you really want to reach a new degree of evilness, combine the character's love and hate.
Love/hate relationships? What if your character's family was killed by that country, but the woman he loves happens to be from there and strongly loves her homeland?
Or what if you take his/her love away with what he hates? What if the ocean terrifies your character? What if what they love is taken away by the waves?
There are plenty of other ways to get creative with this. Even if you're not looking to cause your character more pain, it's a good thing to keep in mind that they have things they hate or are terrified of.
Dec 11, 2012
Very few things seriously annoy me in books. Sure, if my editing cap is on, I could go crazy with the red pen on just about any book you give me (hey, if it wasn't written by me, I'll always be wanting to rearrange some sentences), but very few things actually bother me.
I finally started The Maze Runner the other day. Things were coming along smoothly until Gally stepped into the picture. This guy is your prime bully. You know it before you ever even see his name. The description fits the "modern bully" quite perfectly. I don't know about you, but reading that a guy has missing teeth makes it seem really typical.
And that is what I'm asking you to avoid. Please. Stereotypes and characters I've seen way too many times before are just a bother. They make me sit back and know what's going to go down in this scene, this chapter, or even the whole book, just by seeing him and his stereo-typicalness.
I'm sure you can come up with some stuff. If you see a stereotypical bully, you realize a lot. Okay, he or she is going to get in the main character's way. They'll most likely become archenemies. Oh, and I'll bet the main character stands up to them, as well. Maybe they're the prime antagonist, already nailed in their position at approximately page 20.
But you know what stands out even more? The character who shocks us.
I find that Rick Riordan's The Son of Neptune does a great job of this. Sticking with the bully example, let's look at Octavian. This guy pretty much wants to be in charge. Almost immediately he's in Percy's way. Now I'll bet you all are coming up with some fancy images in your head.
He's probably large, muscular, either downright ugly or amazingly good looking. Greasy hair, perhaps? One of those faces only a mother could love with a squashed in nose?
Actually, no. Octavian was a skinny, weak looking guy. The only position of power he held was that he was the place's auror. People just got to watch him beating up on poor, defenseless teddy bears.
For that? I must thank Rick Riordan majorly. A bully that is nowhere near stereotypical can be very hard to find nowadays. Octavian used his mouth--not his fists. That alone makes me happy.
But bullies aren't the only stereotypes in existence. What about that drop-dead beauty of a girl that the main character has a crush on and will, no doubt, be dating by the end of the book/series? The thin, wiry nerd that no one wants to deal with? Stereotypes are everywhere. And you could change that. Don't follow all monkey see, monkey do like.
Do you have any stereotypes?
Dec 4, 2012
Well, I had the perfect idea for a post a few minutes ago. Congratulations, it has changed. Music does that to me. Especially if the lyrics make me think of a character. Whatever was in my head before that? It jumped out my ear and made a break for the door.
I'm sure you've all seen a wide assortment of characters. Big ones, small ones. Thin ones, and tall ones. Annoying, and passive. Pretty, and ugly. Pfft. You've probably even seen pretty ugly.
But even the vainest idiot who thinks the world of himself or herself will have a reaction to losing something they love. Maybe they never admitted they loved it, but they did. Maybe losing it causes them to stop something or to shut others out.
Remember Garth and the slave girl? I said briefly that he wanted power after the fact to change things. What if it was partially because of her? The king and queen had taken her in, and his heart had probably stopped as soon as he stopped seeing her.
If you remember right, his family beat him and used him. She very well may have been the only thing he loved. What if, when she left, that was all it took to convince him to become what he became. Before, maybe he would've stayed and been walked on his whole life. Maybe it affected him so much that he refused things to be that way anymore. He'd be the master for once.
And what about when he fights her double, whom he thinks is her? What happened to him after he held her dead body in his arms? This was the only thing he loved other than power. The only thing he loved, he couldn't keep. The only thing he loved, he'd broken.
Maybe your character doesn't have an almost lover. Maybe it's something smaller, like a puppy. But your character will always love at least one thing. Sure, it's quite funny think of a character who hates everything, but if you think about it? Maybe he loves hating things. Maybe he loves his tongue that lets him tell you about all the things he hates.
If you take it away, what does your character have? What about them has changed?
Goodbye, my almost lover
Goodbye, my hopeless dream
I'm trying not to think about you
Can't you just let me be?
So long, my luckless romance
My back is turned on you
Should've known you'd bring me heartache
Almost lovers always do
- Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy