Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm not a jackass. The author wrote me that way.


I know we've all read characters that we would love to bitch slap. Myself included. They're infuriating. Arrogant. Conceited. Sorry pieces of work.
But can they change?
That's a bit of a loaded question now, isn't it?

I don't redeem a Too Stupid To Live character. *grins* Because I don't put any in my books. If you want fluff, go pick up a kitty from the pound. And if you want a vapid idiot with a blank look 0n her face, watch a Macy's ad with Jessica Simpson. (That was for you, Tori. *grins*)
Eye candy is great. Eye candy with an IQ less than his shoe size with a personality that's completely below his belt is just fucked up.
Moving on.

However, if you have a "wounded" hero, or an emotionally stunted hero (and I'm so not going there right now)...then you have possibilities. If you can engage a reader deep enough into this character's psyche and thought process, you've won. If you can wring a laugh or tear from a reader with this character, you've won. But if you only scratch the surface of this villainistic (is that a word?) character, then you've done the character and the reader a disservice.
Readers are voyeuristic.
I don't need to know that Mr. Emotionally Stunted man wears blue boxer briefs. But I do want to know what has made him into the person he is today. What happened to him? Sit him down on the mental couch in your therapist office cranium and let him speak. Will he open up to you?
This is big.
If you can open up this character and listen while he tells you of past tragedies and scars that he has, you've found a winner. If the arrogant prick simply looks at you and suggests making better use of your office table, move on.
It takes all kinds. Remember that.

If you place the sorriest piece of shit character in your book, you've lost. Keep in mind I'm talking about Romance here. I believe that these asshat characters are alive and well and living the high life in other genres.
The main story of any romance is love. Simply love. If I want to take an ice pick to a character's fictional heart, there's a problem. If every time I see the character, my blood pressure rises and not in a good way, there's a problem.

Look at the character. If he/she adds something to the story, keep him/her. If, however, you're wondering what in the hell possessed you...get rid of the character! My GOD! You're the AUTHOR. Don't ever forget it.
Next up:
I know you're the author. Now write me my own damn story.
Secondary characters with ego issues.

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