A Little Idea I Had

Today, while going through some old documents, I came across an old story I wrote. It was one I was intending to turn into a book, and got around 10000 words into before I realised it was terribly cliche and I just wasn’t invested. The previous draft was just 25000 words long, and quite rushed. I had intended to rewrite it, but well, never happened.

The interesting thing is, I tend to reuse characters I like. And this book had several that reappear in my current writing. For the most part, it’s just names, but a few have similar descriptions and personalities. And as I’m currently pushing through writers block, I had a brilliant idea.

Less than an hour later, my random idea ended up being over 1000 words long. And for someone who struggles to get 500 down within a few hours, it’s surprising.

Basically, I thought: what if my current book characters read this old story and saw what they used to be?

So I wrote a little scene of them attending a book club and reading it. They were all very offended. It didn’t go anywhere, and I’m not going to use the scene. But hey, I wrote something, and that’s good.

One day I will post my random writings, but I want to get my first book written first to see where my characters end up.

~~ Ari



I almost made a terrible mistake…

I almost wrote something in just because I thought it belonged there, not because it worked in the story. What is this near mistake that would have been so utterly terrible if I stuck to my original plan and left it in? A romance.

Yep, a romance. I knew that two of my characters were to end up together, so I thought: hey, let’s make it happen in book 1. Then yesterday, while reviewing my plan, I realised that there’s no way it can work out. Hence, I pushed it back to book 2, where it actually makes sense.

Basically, I wasn’t giving my characters enough time to develop realistic chemistry. I was jumping from initial encounter straight to sexual tension. Problem. I hate reading books where a romance comes out of nowhere, and I was about to do it in my own writing!

Now that it’s been pushed back to the sequel, I can give them time to actually bond, have a friendship beforehand. It’s kind of a relief I caught myself before I started developing their relationship any further.

On a different note, I have an odd habit of getting attached to completely random side characters who only appear a couple times in the book. Which makes it problematic if anyone needs to get killed off.



Character Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths and weaknesses, every character has to have them. When I first began writing, I told myself that no character would be flawless, and every character would have something redeemable about them.

Flaws in characters create realism, conflict, and encourage change and growth. A main character with inner turmoil to overcome is much more interesting than one who is practically perfect in every way. The last thing I wanted to end up with was an entourage of Mary Sues.

Characters need strengths too, including antagonists. It not only makes a villain type character more realistic, but also much more interesting. Sure, it’s easy to hate a guy who eats puppies for breakfast and wants to blow up the world because he’s EVIL, but he’s just a typical villain who will probably be forgotten shortly after the book is put down. A one dimensional villain is as bad as a one dimensional protagonist.

Whereas somebody who believes they are doing good but are inadvertently opposing the protagonist, is much more interesting. There’s more for the reader to question, and there’s a build up in tension as the reader does not know how the two will react when they come face to face.

I wanted to insure every one of my characters had an element of grey to them. With that mindset, I began planning. Turns out, writing flawed characters is easy for me. A bit too easy in fact. Because when I sat down and took a look at them all, I found out I had accidentally forgotten to give half of them any strengths. I had basically written a bunch of very unlikable people. Oops. A few good hours of planning later, and the problem has been solved, mostly. I still have one character who I’m unsure about, but he hasn’t appeared in my draft yet, so I’m hoping that his actions and interactions with others will develop him past what I have on paper. It worked with several others, so fingers crossed it works with him.