Monday, January 28, 2013

Making a "bad" character sympathetic

In my current WiP, one of my characters is being finicky.  I have a character who is part of the mob, but still has to be liked by the MC.  How can I make the mobster a good person when he's kind of not? I guess I can't really do that; if you're in the mob, you're probably going to kill people.  He needs to be sympathetic.  How can I get the readers to still root for him?  It's a hard line to walk and make believable.

I've been thinking about the show Dexter.  He's a serial killer but we still root for him.  He has a "code" that he follows, making him somewhat redeemable.  He's also a great brother and a good(ish) dad.  There are parts of him that make him likable.

I think that's what I have to do with my mob character.  It still needs to be believable that he would kill people, but he has to have redeeming qualities, and enough of them to make the MC still want to help him.  Maybe we need to see his past so that we can find out why he ended up this way.  Or we need to see him doing something good that he doesn't benefit from.  Maybe he really likes art, or birthdays, or cares deeply for someone.  Something that redeems him as a person.

I just haven't figured out what that is yet.

How do you make a bad character sympathetic?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Matter Over Mind

So I already a new year's resolution post, but I wanted to kind of expand it.

It's all well and good to make new year's resolution, because that's the first step, but we have to follow through.  That's the hard part.  We all want to write more, or exercise, or do something that's generally hard for us to do.  If it wasn't hard, then we wouldn't have to make resolutions; we would just do them.

Setting a schedule is another good step in the process.  And it's usually here where I stumble.  I'll make a schedule, know I should follow the schedule, but don't always follow through.  I'll procrastinate because the resolutions are hard, and then all of a sudden the day is wasted.  It's taking it to the next step.

And here is where matter over mind comes in.  I think most of my blocks are mental.  Once I force myself into the chair or to dress for a run, that's all it takes to get me going.  It's just taking that first step of physically sitting down and opening the word doc, or getting up to put on my sneakers.  Otherwise I'm just flailing on the couch.  I need to force my body to do it, and not listen to my brain being lazy, telling me to just hang out for a few more minutes or take a break.

Of course breaks are necessary, but they should be minimized.  It's reaching that point where I can overcome the mentality of having to take a break or stop.  I should push myself through mental fatigue, because it's not actually fatigue.  It's just the hard part of writing.  Once I get passed that mental block I think I could do so much more, but I'm using it as a crutch to do "just enough".  Obviously we have to know our limits, but sometimes we should challenge them too, because it could turn out what we thought was a limit, was just mentality, and now we can do so much more than we thought!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Multiple POVs

So I finished MS#2.  Woohoo!  Kind of.  It's drastically short for a YA sci-fi and needs all sorts of revisions.  But at least I'm at a starting point.

After finishing, I started thinking about all the work it needs and revisions to do (as any of us crazy people trying to write novels do).  I started to think that the LI needed to be fleshed out, like, waaay more.  I know his back story, but it didn't really come across in the draft.  And as I thought about it, I realized, that maybe he has a story to tell too.  (I mean, he does).

The thing is I always write 1st person (past).  I really like first person.  It's my favorite to read and my favorite to write.  But it's really limited.  You only get one person point of view and that's it.  So I've started thinking, maybe I need another POV.

There are a lot of books that alternate between POVs and do so in different ways.  There's third person POV where you can kinda change whenever you want (to an extent) or you can do it chapter by chapter, like in Laini Taylor's DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT which gives many POVs.  Then there's many books that do alternating first person POV chapter by chapter like Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER and THE SCORPIO RACES, or Beth Revis's ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.

I've been asking some peeps on Twitter, why they use dual or multiple POVs, because I'm not sure if that's what my MS needs.  Maybe the MS could be fleshed out without another POV.  So what are some of the reason people use dual POVs?  And what are some reason not to?

And, I'm scared to write boy POV.  I don't consider myself a girlie-girl, but the thought of being inside a dude's head is so foreign that it's scary.  What if it doesn't sound authentic?  What if it doesn't work?

WELL, that's where CPs come in.  I'm sure they'll tell me if it doesn't work.  I just need to start writing and see if it's what I want for my book.  It might not work for me, but I can't let nerves and jitters stop me from writing what the book needs, if that is indeed what it needs.

So despite thinking I was done MS#2, I think I'm about to revisit it with a boy's POV.

Why do you write or not write in multiple POVs?  I'd love to hear your reasons!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Welp, it's that time of year again: resolutions.  I like this time because they're just goals, and I love goals.  It gives me something to strive for.

Last year I had a lot of resolutions.  I finished some of them, others not so much.  But that's okay.  I can add them to this year's list.  Here it goes.

1) Query Code of the Fireflies - I'm on my last round of revisions (hopefully), so I'm hoping to query in Feb.
2) Revise the Disloyalty of Colors - I finished a draft zero, so this one needs *a lot* of work.  I'm thinking querying in November probably.
3) Start MS #3.  I have two ideas that have been floating around in my brain.  I'd like to get first drafts of both of them written, but I don't know if that will happen.  I want to make good outlines this time around, since both of the previous MSs were so messy.
4) Write more. - This one's simple.  To do all of the above, I have to write more.  That means make time, and not just let it fall into my lap.  This semester is going to be crazy again, but I have no classes over the summer.  That means time to just write.  But if I can make time during the semester, I'll feel like I can write no matter how busy I am.  So that's what I'm hoping for.

And non-writing resolutions.
5) To exercise more - Not just exercise more, but to make a schedule and stick with it.  I have class Mondays and Thursdays, so I want to run on Tuesdays and Fridays (even if it's cold) and go to the gym on Wednesdays.  Hold me to it!

So those are my resolutions.  Happy New Year everyone!