I know. I should have posted two yesterday. And I still need to post another today. This is harder to catch up on than originally anticipated.
Writing Excuses episode 10.5 is all about how to fix your boring main character. Which is a problem you may or may not know that you have. I wish that the wonderful hosts had touched more on this, but this is not a problem you will know you have if you don’t have a writing group.
I do write this at this time with no writing group. Weep for me.
I do want to do a Skype writing group or something at some time. Maybe… help…
Anyway, this is not something you will know you have an issue with unless you have group of people that you can trust who can give you useful and KIND feedback. If you’re not certain about your friends in your writing group, get a new writing group.
I might need to start a writing group…
Anyway, one of my favorite things they say are things that DO NOT make an interesting main character.
While this makes the overall character somewhat interesting and a little bit different, it does not mean that they are interesting. Just because your main character likes wearing rainbow socks with their Bermuda shorts, doesn’t mean that they are going to be super interesting. They MUST be deeper than that.
If your character is doing super interesting stuff and is surrounded by super interesting people, they are still monochrome!!! I think that I do some pretty interesting stuff and I know some very interesting people, however, I’m pretty boring. I’m animated, but boring. There MUST be a character arc for that main character to be interesting. I’m thinking of doing a character arc progression spread in my idea journal, to make sure this is ACTUALLY HAPPENING.
Also… I LIKE CAPS LOCK TODAY.
Agency (I gave up on alliteration. I can’t find a synonym for this.)
If your main character is standing there, watching as your side characters do all the cool stuff, your character is boring. The end.
I liked what Mary said about responsibility. If your character is an assassin, kills a crap-load of people and then doesn’t have an internal conflict (how did it come to this) or an external conflict (being chased by the cops or a subsequent government agency), it’s BORING.
If your character has no stake in what’s happening in your larger world, the character is not an interesting person to carry your plot. In fact, you may have no plot. It’s a big problem. So give them something worth fighting for, even if the character doesn’t know that they need to fight for the thing at first, the discovery of that thing is a really good conflict. If there is no stake, there is no story.
Be proud of me! I’m doing headers and everything, like a grown up blogger and everything!
Take three different characters and walk them through a scene. Convey their emotional states, their jobs, and their hobbies without directly stating any of those. The scene in question: walking through a marketplace, and they need to do a dead-drop.
This is the fun part. However, I need to do another of these today to stay on top of things. So, I’ll do just the one.
It was way too hot out and his hat made his head itch and he was hungry and thirsty.
Ray trapsed through the market, head down, package under his arm. He had to find where the food trucks were, buy a taiyaki, whatever that was, and sit down on the grass to eat it. Leaving the package in the grass, he could go about his business. Maybe he could get an ice-cream, too.
He squinted in the bright sunshine, staring at the crowds surrounding him. There were way too many people here. The place was packed; if something bad went down here, a lot of people were going to get hurt.
What would happen if he placed a bomb just there? How would that building next to it crumble.
Don’t get distracted, keep wallking.
His nose twitched, food. The sweet smell of waffles, spicy curry, fire grilled pizza. He followed the scent, as it wafted over the heads of the milling throngs.
The trucks were on the opposite end of the block from where he had started and in the parking lot of an office building. So far away. In truth, he thought to himself, it probably only took him about five minutes to get to the end of the street.
What the hell was a taiyaki? He scanned the trucks, looking for anything that said taiyaki. Wait, was that it? The truck stood, waffles in the shape of fish being handed out through the window. There it was, the sign that said “Taiyaki Fish Waffles”. He bought one, not sure what this was going to be like, and a bottle of water. He plunked down under a tree add bit into the waffle. It wasn’t the best thing ever, but it wasn’t awful. It had somekind of sweet and spicy beef with cabbage.
He swigged his water and spotted Egan; also wearing a ball cap and long sleeves, despite the heat. Egan gave him a slight nod, which Ray did not return. He just ripped another peice of taiyaki off with his teeth and chewed, pointedly. They sat, almost staring one another down, until Ray had finished his fish waffle. He swigged the last of his water and stood, leaving the small bundle in the grass behind him.
Sweet, done! Time for ice-cream.
He stood in line for a pistachio cone while he watched Egan out of the corner of his eye. Egan sat down in the grass where Ray had been, stashing the brown package in his pocket. Ray got his cone, and began to walk away with it, licking hapilly. He decided to wander along and look at the stalls, now that his chore was done. He stopped to admire some Seattle themed t-shirts.
“Is there something wrong?” Egan’s voice behind him. Ray started to turn to look, but took Egan’s elbow in the ribcage.
“Don’t look at me.” Egan hissed.
“Argh…” he stiffled his cry. “No. Why would there be something wrong?”
“You bought ice-cream.” Egan said. “Is that some sort of secret message from Leo? Did she give me something special?”
“No.” Ray, rolled his eyes. “Not everything is a secret code, Egan. I just wanted ice-cream and some time out of the workshop.”
“Oh.” Egan’s voice sounded tight. “I will.. wander on.”