Characters Who Fit

I should get back to writing book reviews…unfortunately I haven’t been reading much lately, between my recent wedding, the immense number of follow on chores and errands that came from that, finishing an old profitless and pseudonymous project, my new project, and the fact that I work on Eastern time but live in not merely a western time zone, but the one western time zone that has rejected the tyranny of Daylight Savings Time (as one should). There’s also the Oncoming Puppy. I did read a book about training him, so I guess I’ll have to let you -all four of you, and Mom- know if it was worth reading.

So that leaves me with writing about writing, which makes me focus on the new project more, at least. I had an idea for how this story would play out some time ago, but one of the major characters never seemed quite right. Now that I’m putting it properly together, I actually came to realize that, due to her position in the story and the backstory and attitude that required, I did not like her very much. The best I could wrangle for a personality was something very bland, and on the dislikeable side of bland at that.

This project is not really one that breaks any boundaries. In a lot of ways, it’s a chance to play with concepts that have been around awhile, but on my own terms. And it was looking at those concepts- I’ll admit it’s superheroes, I guess- that I found a place to fit this character that made me like her.

It was not a place I like, I want you to know, because it involves a profession I despise, a profession so far up its own rear end that the sure why to win its acclaim is to praise it shamelessly. There are too many movies and shows and book where someone does this for a living or aspires to be one. But it worked so well and allowed me to give this character a fun personality so that’s what she’s going to be.

They tell you to kill your darlings, but what you should mostly do is keep an open mind when developing characters. People, and more importantly you, should enjoy your protagonists. Don’t try to force them into roles or places that mean they must be unpleasant to write or read. The result is going to be jarring for readers, if you can even make yourself write it.

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