Compelling, Real Characters

NaBloPoMo - Dec 2016

NaBloPoMo - Dec 2016

I have a writing group that has a weekly morning chat for an hour(ish).  We sit with coffee and check in with our projects.  We are also therapy for each other.  We have been dealing with issues related to publishing our books, our job stress, our family stress, very minimal election stress, and anything else that impacts what we write.

One of the topics that often comes up is the constant struggle to effectively promote our books.  We see what we don’t want to do, but struggle to find what works.  How do you balance sharing yourself and promoting your book?  It’s always an interesting conversation.  Yes, we sometimes just share annoyances we have with other, aggressive promotors.

This week the conversation turned to the idea the filter in which we see the world and how that can help us.  For example, I see things through the filter of second chances.  Another one of us likes the stories people tell about their lives.  This led to a conversation about the stories we tell.  It got me thinking of the stories I like to tell and they all are told through the filter.  Everything I like to tell has to do with second (third, fourth, fifth, or sixth) chances.  Even when I break from the routine, it’s all about people who don’t learn from mistakes.  I like my characters to be real people who make some good decisions and some bad decisions.

I struggle when people complain that a character made a bad decision or knows better.  There is this inclination that characters should make perfect decisions.  I watched comments on Game of Thrones when a character, who would have been all of 10 years old, died because he ran in a straight line.  People forget that characters are suppose to represent real people and make decisions like real people.  Gilmore Girls is another example.  People are realizing that Rory is not a great person.  The thing is, she never was and there are plenty of people like her just as much as there are plenty of people not like her.

For me, I would rather read and write characters who make bad decisions because we all make them.  What about you?  How do you react when a character makes a stupid decision?  Do you find it compelling or annoying?  Let me know in the comments.

Wondering what someone else took away from our conversation at this meeting?  Laura wrote a very different perspective on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *