Wednesday, April 3, 2013

ISWG & A-Z: C for Characters & The Clerk

As a part of Insecure Writers Support Group and A-Z  I'm doing a double post.  Man, its day three and I'm exhausted.  Before I start I wanted to thank Alex for being the superhero ninja that he is.  I also want to thank Annalisa Crawford, Elsie, and Julie Luek. Thanks guys!

For the past few months I've been fretting over my characters.  Of the feedback I've received, one suggestion was to tweak a few things about my main MC and another supporting character in order to make the story better.  Hey, I'm all for that, right?  Who wouldn't?  So now that I'm in edit-mode, I find myself troubled, wondering how much I should change.  What makes a good character a great one?  Is it plotting, dialogue or hell even better writing that will do the trick?  I recently read a book blogger rant about urban fantasy authors and the annoying trends they read in books.  I wish I could find the link of the post since it was a good one.  I remember reading it and asking myself..."Did I do that when I wrote my novels?"  I can't remember verbatim what those traps were, but the point is, readers matter.  So now that I'm making those last final edits to go from good to great, I find myself wondering what a reader would expect.  This is also frustrating because it feels like a death trap too.   Any suggestions?  Do I sound like lunatic?

A-Z:  C is for The Clerk
The Sir Cleric of Oxenford was a hard-working, somewhat religious man, obsessed with learning and his books.  He never spoke that much but when he did his words were wise.  His told a tale about the marquis (Walter) and a poverty girl, (Griselda) he chose to take as his bride.  Now after some time, Walter  became jealous and insecure (he would have been a perfect candidate for IWSG) about his wife.  He wanted to test her loyalty her steadfastness so he would constantly test this humble women I suspect hoping to see if she'd break.  I didn't quite understand the lengths that the marquis took to test her such as taking their children, hiding them and letting her think they were dead.  Despite her husbands wicked plans, Griselda remains vigilant and always accepting graciously her husbands decisions.  Yeah, I wanted to slap her more than a few times.  Still the story was incredibly engaging and had the makings of a modern day melodrama.

What about you?  If you think about marriage vows and the honor and obey far could someone like the marquis push you?  

Have a great Wednesday.

Mina B.


Laura said...

I remember reading that one and wondering why on earth a woman would put up with that much from her husband! But I guess the story wouldn't have been very good if she hadn't.

Dani said...

I would hate to be tested all the time. There would be some retribution.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Once he took the children, it would be over. He sounds cruel, controlling, and crazy.

Play off the Page

Mark Means said...

Edits are extremely tough...what to keep..what to get rid of...change this, tweak that.

Go with your gut, is the best advice I can give and, if there's anything you can do to make your characters -not- fit the mold..maybe look at that, as well :)

J. A. Bennett said...

For IWSG post: I have so been there! I think the most import6ant thing you can do as a writer is observe people, think about their quirks, then try and make those real-life emotions jump off the page. Don't just describe what happening, add personality to your character by inserting their thoughts. It's a tricky game to play for sure, but just keep thinking about it and tweaking and you'll get there!

For A-Z: I could never be married to someone like that to me honor an obey has a caveat, as long as that honor also honor's your partner as well :)

Gwen Gardner said...

Re: IWSG - characters are tough, and without having read your ms I couldn't comment on it. I agree that a lot of characters have become sort of the same, which is boring. But how do you come up with a quirk that hasn't been done? *shrugs*

Re: The Clerk. Slap her? Hell, I'd slap him! He was cruel to keep testing her like that. The dead children would have been the last straw!

Thanks Mina - CT is fun :)

S. L. Hennessy said...

I find myself worrying about readers too, so much so that I get bogged down and stop writing. SOmetimes it helps me to remember that I, as the writer, and the most important reader because I write for myself first. Listen to constructive criticism, but always stay true to your vision.

nutschell said...

I think Griselda should've flipped the situation and played at testing him!

Lauren said...

About as far as he could throw me. Marriage is not an excuse for either emotional or physical abuse.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Only adjust what you feel comfortable adjusting. And if you worry about avoiding all of those things too much, you'll write something that just doesn't ring true.
Bottom line - be true to you and go with your gut feeling.

Nick Wilford said...

It's really hard to second guess what readers want. Anything you do to your characters, you should be comfortable with it, though.

Karen Tamara said...

Ugh. I'm doing edits myself, so I feel for you. It's hard to know how to go from good to great, isn't it? I guess that's the trick we are all trying to learn!

Anonymous said...

I remember the clerk, but not that story.

I hope you figure things out with your character.

Georgina Morales said...

I think developing a character is always tricky. I agree that readers matter but in the end you must write for yourself. The way I do it is to think of what I like to read and I write for the group of people that enjoy the same things. There's more people like you, so as long as you are thinking as a reader and writing as a writer, you will be alright.

Best of luck!

Coming from IWSG

Michael Pierce said...

I think it's important to stay true to the characters you're creating. There are always things to change, but make changes that coincide with the character's personality. I know there are a lot of cliches in urban fantasies, dystopians, and paranormal romances nowadays. It's what's selling right now. But it's a nice treat to find fresh characters.