Saturday, April 28, 2012

A-Z: "Y" is for "Thank You" & "Your" Characters

It's the second to the last day for the A-Z Challenge and today's letter is of course for the letter "Y." Before I begin my post, I'd like to give a shout out or a "Thank You" to the band of bloggers that hosted this excellent challenge which turned out to an awesome networking opportunity. Today, I will be making my rounds to these fine folks to make sure I'm following them and to say thank you.  Below is the list of these awesome peeps:

Tossing It Out (Arlee Bird), Amlokiblogs (Damyanti Biswas),
Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh), Life is Good (Tina Downey), Cruising Altitude 2.0 (DL Hammons), Retro-Zombie (Jeremy Hawkins), The Warrior Muse (Shannon Lawrence), The QQQE (Matthew MacNish), Author Elizabeth Mueller(Elizabeth Mueller), Pearson Report (Jenny Pearson), No Thought 2 Small (Konstanz Silverbow), Breakthrough Blogs (Stephen Tremp), & Coming Down The Mountain(Karen Jones Gowen)

Okay, so since my theme for this challenge is all about likable characters, I decided my post for "Y" should be about "your" favorite characters.  It could be the ones you write about, read about or even the ones you enjoy on film.  

I read a post this week that prompted this post.  It was from USA Today & New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley and it was titled Character and Control.  If you get a chance, I recommend reading it.  There are some interesting perspectives on this subject.  Ashley writes about how she lets her "characters tell the story" and goes even further to explain how her process works.  (For those interested, I interviewed Ashley nearly two years where she spoke about one of her highly acclaimed characters, Lord Ian Mackenzie.)  At the end of the day, everyone has their own process, which brought me to my next series of questions.  

Plot, suspense, pacing etc... are without a doubt imperative, but what happens when you have characters that are not likable? Or better yet not memorable?  Do you let your characters tell your story?  Or do you prefer to control them?  What's your process and what works for you?


Mina B.

16 comments:

Lynn Proctor said...

that is such a great question you have about the characters--i think you might have given me an answer--great post!

KarenG said...

Mina, I am glad you have enjoyed the Challenge. Me too! Although I never did visit as much as I had planned. Can you believe we are nearly to Z??

KarenG

Christine Rains said...

Great Y post! I add in a big thanks to those that hosted the Challenge. As for characters, they usually tell me their story. Your question hits home for me right now. I've recently been revising one of my WIP and I've tried to change the protagonist because she's not entirely likable. I've done two drafts and I'm not happy. My character isn't happy. I'm changing her and it's not working. So I'm going to let her rest for a while and work on something else, then she and I will talk again. I won't force a change that doesn't work.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Fabulous post! Oh, lots of stuff happens when a character isn't likable: the danger of your book being set down forever, the danger of the reader not connecting with her/him (we want the reader to especially connect with the hero/ine. I think it's different if the villain isn't likable, but what happens if s/he is likable? Hmm...

I always let my characters tell the story. I am a big time panster!

I have a rough idea of what my story is going to be about. I jot those ideas down as a summary. I had every intention of having one of my MCs get away with all the crimes he'd committed, but in the end, he died. It took me by surprise, but it gave my story a POWERFUL impact. My sister is my hugest fan. She'll hate me for killing him. Tee hee!


Elizabeth
A to Z co-host

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks for mentioning the hosts. My co-hosts have worked hard to make this the best Challenge ever.
I control my characters, although the first version of my main character in CassaStar was borderline unlikeable. I had to reel him in a bit, and most of the changes were in dialogue.

S. L. Hennessy said...

My favorite characters of all time are Neville Longbottom, Snape, Mal Reynolds and Sheldon Cooper :)

Shannon Lawrence said...

Thank you for the host shout-out! I've had a lot of fun this year.

As far as characters, I do tend to let them tell me what they want to do. There was an author at the conference who said that statement always takes her aback, because they're her characters, and she tells them what to do. Of course, I can steer them, but they have a life of their own, and several battles of will have transpired because of it. Haha.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Ricardo Miñana said...

Hello Mina, beautiful space, passing to say hello, nice to read your text.
if you like the poetry I invite you to my space, thank you.
happy day.

mshatch said...

characters first is my motto since that's what I like. A great plot means nothing without great characters.

Stephen Tremp said...

"You" is a great word for Y. Glad you enjoyed the A to Z Challenge. I did. I'll need a week off to catch up on stuff though.

Medeia Sharif said...

I let the characters loose during drafting, but I'm more in control during revisions.

Geeky Daddy said...

Great post for the letter Y. I think some of my favorite characters are Samwise and Neville. I relate at some of the misfortunes them in their stories.

Magical Mystical MiMi said...

I let the characters tell the story and I listen.
Great post.

Cecilia M. said...

A great 'Y' post, Mina. :)
Thanks for Jennifer Ashley's link. really worth reading.

I'm not really good at outlining (or if I do it never goes as planned) so I hop all over the place, let my characters lead the way. It's cool. sometimes discover something completely different than expected. :)

Tonja said...

I think the best thing about writing is when you put two characters next to each other (that you really wouldn't want in a room next to each other in reality) and then let them go.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hey, Mina,

I don't think characters have to be likeable, but I do think there needs to be something fascinating about them and their story.