Another stumbled-upon via Facebook, and since it hit home quite well, coinciding with the things I’ve blogged thus far, I thought to share.
Understanding Character Wounds: A List Of Common Themes
Posted on February 27, 2014 by Angela Ackerman
It’s an interesting read, and I’m anxious to buy the book The Negative Trait Thesaurus
I do wonder, though, why someone like me would need such a reference guide? I feel rather smug about having gone through a host of angst and don’t need guidance, thank you.
What I do find interesting is the running theme of these character flaws that make a novel’s protagonist who they are and more to the point why they are. We can take note of this fact and maybe try to avoid them in our own writing, or better still, pick one and take it on a journey so far removed from predictability that the common angst backdrop becomes something no one could have expected or even thought possible.
This is what I mean about the age-old advice about using what you know and infusing a character with such knowledge while keeping it real .
The antagonist is just that because to the modern world and PC ideals he is sexist, domineering, and a boor. But, what if the writer insists that he is not the antagonist but the protagonist of the story? Ha! Deal with it and enjoy the show, dear readers.
The protagonist comes from an abusive past and may have dabbled in drugs before getting her act together and choosing the straight and narrow path. She is the antagonist.
Why? Because this running theme already conjures up images of the twain shall meet, she will save him from himself. He resists because … she almost gives up, thinking that … and somewhere down the road love occurs. One or both change their wicked ways and tra-la-la.
This, to me, is antagonistic. Predictability, set-in-stone rules, and lemmings doing whatever everyone else is at the time and in that genre.
Everyone wants to see their work on the silver screen, heralded in the NYT, and even debated about in college classrooms.
Okay, not everyone. Just the people who believe that blogging/tweeting/instagramming is reserved solely for beautiful hipsters with something cool to say.
My writing doesn’t work this way and I don’t want it to.
Reality has its place in my work, but only to a certain extent. If I wanted to write romantic stories about real people doing real things then I would have no need to ever write. I could just suggest that my potential audience go to the gym or club or pool hall (or just scan Facebook all day) and watch life flow. Who needs a book? Or me for that matter?
My vampires don’t adhere to any strict rules and regulations about what they can or can’t do, how they can or can’t think and feel, or even how they go about obtaining life blood. What if a vampire DID contract the deadly diseases of their victims? Want to talk about reality? Huh?
Why are Werewolves hairy and suspicious? Does anyone aside from someone who has actually lived with a pack of the real species for ten or more years truly know what goes on inside a wolf’s head? We’ve got scant clues as to the how and why of their behavior, but that is the animal. Would these traits cross over as a given or because the writer insists on following the formula?
Twilight junkies cannot dictate how I want my characters to behave any more than I will allow the Harry Potter gang to tell me I can’t set up my fantasy realm the way I want because … that’s just not how it’s done. Nor would I or do I want to stick to Grimm’s style of fairy tale telling.
We take certain aspects of reality and either infuse them into our characters and let them run with it, or we shape and mold that so-called character flaw into whatever type of outcome we perceive.
We pick and choose our battles in our own lives, in what we want to watch on TV or at the movies, and in every aspect of our daily lives. We make choices and then deal/live with them. We are humans. This is so cool about us, too.
As a human I am forced to have to follow rules, but as a writer?
As the pilot of my own mind, the author in me does not obey rules. I don’t like rules. Rules are made to be … electives. They’re there to help keep me on a this usually works best path toward not so much self satisfaction success but monetary wise instead.
I will endeavor to make the reading experience one of pleasure and ease, but it is up to the reader to conform to my decisions as to content and character development.
Today’s rules, guidelines, norms, morays, and tenets are for real people living right now and NOT for my writing. If a character in my story likes to say ‘that’s gay‘, the reader can click her tongue and burn the book or deal with it and read on.
I’m not scared.