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Thursday, October 8, 2015

I Crafted A Character I Can't Write


First time ever event.  I crafted a character that I'm fighting tooth and nail throughout the book. 

I've always been able to muscle my way through a problem, either by writing through it or just letting the fix come to me, usually in the shower, which seems to be my muse enhancer.

But this time, I created a character who I cannot identify with on any level. I have no experience to draw on for her.  And my deadline is looming.

Granted, if I didn't have a deadline staring me squarely in the face, I might be able to think deeper and fix it, but I don't. I've hit a boulder sitting squarely in the road of my story.

So, I'm changing her a bit, and making her greatest fear is something that I, and many of you can relate to. Becoming unnecessary. The worst thing that can happen to a person who is always giving of one's self. Be it at the job, for a friend or coworker or family. Then finding out that the rug is now pulled out from beneath your feet.

That everything you've been doing just isn't good enough. Or worse, in my character's case that she is pretty much unnecessary to the continuation of the nonprofit she founded. 

The story line isn't changing, but my character and her actions/reactions are changing.  

And since the deadline is still looming, I guess I better get to writing ... the book.

Have any of you faced this issue in your writing?  Have any of you faced this in your life? What happened and how did you react?

Hugs always, 
L. A.


18 comments:

  1. Love your statement about the shower being your muse enhancer. Mine shows up when I'm driving.

    While I don't know what she was like before you changed her, I love the fear of insignificance and the underlying tension it brings to every interaction. That should resonate with readers because we've all feared the same at some point in our lives.

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    1. Hi Candee, I think I can write it so that people can relate to the fact she still believes she can make it all work, until disaster strikes and she knows she can't. And the realization that she can't is because "they" won't let her continue to try.

      Thanks for stopping by, it's lovely to see you.
      Hugs
      LA

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Prior comment had a typo.

    Interesting. Sometimes my aliens are in the same boat. If they aren't human inside, they are difficult to relate to. When that happens to me, I go to prior books or television.

    I take a prior character/alien and use their actions and dialogue as a starting point. Then I change it for my setting...etc. Of course, I make the changes significant enough to avoid plagiarism. But it gives me a starting place. I do the same thing if I have a human character, say a foreign terrorist, that I don't really understand.

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    1. Usually I can write through it. I haven't been an adventurer, but was still able to write characters that were. Because I understood their drive and their fears.

      But it was this personality I couldn't fix, her inner conflict that I couldn't resonate with on any level. Her reactions felt stiff and artificial and resolving her conflict was something I couldn't make work.

      The external stuff was fine and will remain.

      Thanks for posting, I was worried you'll pulled it.

      Hugs
      L.A.

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  4. Brad, why did you remove your comment, I liked it and was going to respond to it.

    Hugs
    LA

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  5. LA, I've not stuck my neck that far out on a character. The old adage, right or wrong, "Write what you know," keeps me from ranging into remarkable distances on most my characters. I admire you panache and have complete faith that you'll solve this issue. I think irrelevance is a deeply drawing and timely issue in today's world. It may entice more readers in. Cheers

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  6. Marilyn, thank you for commenting. It's good to see you here.

    I've never not been able to complete a character. And now that I can't, I feel humbled by her (my character) and know she'll not leave me until I figure her out for another book another day.

    I do love that you think I have panache. And I truly hope the story draws people in.

    Of course she's going to fight this for all she's worth...

    Hugs
    L.A.

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  7. LA, I think I already relate this character. I wish you genius as you continue to flesh her out!

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    1. Dena! Hello. We've missed you. Thank you so much for stopping by. She's working out better than I could have hoped. And for my dysfunctional heroine, I'll find a spot for her once I know her better.

      Hugs
      L.A.

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  8. I have walked in those shoes. They are uncomfortable and they pinch. ;) I think one of the worst things is finding out that what you believed was true is not. That you've been either lied to, misled, or buffaloed. It's a hateful experience and one I wouldn't wish on anyone. I am dealing with a character right now who evades me at every turn. Every time I try to write his story, it's like he doesn't exist. He is nowhere to be found. But when I'm writing other stories, he is there, bugging me. Nudging me. Write MY story. But then he won't talk. What do you do with a person like that? I'm ignoring him for right now, trying to figure out what his issue might be. I just don't know. So I very much related to your post.

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    1. Hi Kayelle,
      It's lovely to see you here and to have read your story. YES is all I can say. Someday, my heroine will be in a story, when? Who knows, I certainly don't. But she'll stay in my subconscious and worm her way out when it's right.

      Thanks for visiting and posting.
      Hugs
      L.A.

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  9. Hi L. A.

    As a philosopher I don't seem to have any problems coming up with any motivation a character needs. I just build on their central believes and expand outward. We tend to operate on our basic beliefs and view of the world. Change our thinking and we can change our world.

    Changing your character will require building a logical foundation. I would change the basic premise. I'd have the character's greatest fear that of being discovered as a phony. That is, as someone who is passing for a successful, dynamic and gifted person. She knows she is not these things because she can see what is behind her eyes. This is a rather common problem with highly successful people. They are smart enough to 'see' their faults but they cannot see inside other people who they think are more 'real' than they are.


    With this belief the character can acutually create her own problems. She can set up a senario for failure where there was none. She does not need a foundation that makes the possibility of loss of job position a realistic possibility to the reader. Also additional success and reassurances do not make things better for a person with such beliefs. They just think the deception has risen to new heights thus making exposure more likely.

    This belief that she is a phony about to be exposed at any time opens the door for a marvelous character arc. Think how much "It's A Great Life" is loved when George finds out the town loves him. His character arc is completed, the reader is delighted, and Clarence wins his wings.

    Of course that's what I'd do.

    Good luck on your project.

    Vince

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    1. Hi Vince,
      Nice to see you here. I wish I had your problem...of no problems. Usually I've got something going with a character that I have to wrangle, but this one. Yikes.

      She's not a phony, but rather one who gives so much, it's part of her identity, her psyche. And when she's told she's not needed or of relevance, it nearly destroys her and definitely impacts her trust.

      I hope to see you more, I miss chatting with you.
      Hugs
      L.A.

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  10. I faced this in my life. I thought my MIL could do a better job raising my four kids. Then I got cancer. It was as if God said, "Have a seat on this couch for an entire year and watch how your MIL raises your kids." That's exactly what happened, and I learned my value. Not that my MIL did a lousy job. She was wonderful. I just learned no one knows my kids as well as I do, and I'm the best person for them. God showed me my value. :-)

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  11. Hi Sandi,
    Thanks for visiting the blog. It's a wonderful lesson you learned. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Hugs
    L.A.

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  12. Yes. Sometimes I can't bring a character to life. The character remains cold and flat and I'd like to toss him or her.

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