Friday, January 21, 2011

So I started writing a few chapters of the christian romance. If you're any good as a writer, you should be thinking, the last sentence started out with 'so', and it's not needed. Not a good writer. Well yes, that's true, it's just how I write, and I feel free to toss these useless things (well, so, hmm, anyway. Etc.) into my rough drafts and then edit them out later. I catch myself writing 'she felt' so many times. Thank god the last editor pointed out why it was wrong. Now, I write that sentence, and then the correct one. Later, I’ll remove every trace of 'she felt, was feeling, had felt' crap.
So, anyway, the first paragraph slowed me down a bit. Always a good sign, really. That was sarcasm. So, the first line, and I’m thinking, she's in a bookstore and- why? What's she doing? Why don't I know my character well enough to know what she's doing? If you can't answer what your character is doing and why, you don't know your characters well enough.
She's in the bookstore, unpacking a box for her dear friend who helped her get a job. Yes, lovely, but those are things, backgrounds, plot bits, not character development. Because she's helpful, and feels grateful to her friend for getting her hired at the other bookstore. Oh, yes, better. She's helpful. This will be a driving force later on, as it's more than helpful, she's nice. Charity. Giving. And she feels grateful, so she doesn't take things for granted, maybe a low self esteem, or pays people back. Now I know why she's doing what she's doing.
Anyway, it was just the first thought that popped into my head when I wanted to start writing, was “why don't you know what and why your character is doing? Maybe you don’t know your characters as well as you need to.” Okay, two thoughts that popped into my head.
So ask yourself. Do you know why your character is doing stuff? Well yeah, the plot slowed right there, I needed to move her there, okay. That's true character motivation right there. Because the author needed them to. But your character, to be a character, needs to have an internal reason to do things, even if it's not said. And you need to know it, or you don't know your characters well enough.

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