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The Glass Gargoyle by Marie Andreas

The Glass Gargoyle

by Marie Andreas

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Never Give Up, Never Surrender!


Ok, there are two components of this statement- one for us as writers.  A screenwriter friend once told me, “You can never fail, you can only quit”. If we give up on our dreams, on ourselves, without doing all that we want to do- we’re selling ourselves short. You can't fail in this business as long as you keep writing.

But the way I want to look at it today is our characters.

Our characters have to be realistic enough for readers to identify with otherwise they’ll never be able to jump inside their heads for the ride.

But at the same time, our characters have to go a beyond real- they can’t give up even when faced with odds that would destroy “regular” people. (Ok, the argument can be made, and it’s valid, that there ARE people who perform with super human tenacity, but we’ll ignore them for now. If you KNOW someone is going to succeed no matter what, what’s the fun in watching their path?).

We have to create people who are normal to begin with (normal for whatever they are, fae, elf, dragon, vampire, or even just human) but who find that inner power we all wish we had to go beyond who they were and save the day.

These characters have to have plenty of options to walk away, they may even do so once or twice, but something inside of them keeps them going back to the right path. To put themselves in harm’s way to save others, an ideal, or a way of life.

I'm finding that the more flaws I give my characters, the more problems and reasons for them to turn away, the more I believe them when they don't.

Any tricks out there for making characters who go beyond themselves and are yet still believable?

Thanks for coming by!

 

11 comments:

  1. Very true!! I have a hard time creating flaws that create problems, but I love putting obstacles ahead of my character and bringing on the pressure. :) That really does make for interesting reading!

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    1. LOL_ I think we just like messing our characters up ;). I do the same thing Nicole!

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

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  2. Marie & Nicole,

    Just took a workshop that touched on core events. If you create a core event that knocks a character to his/her knees, that is devastating, horrific, painful and debilitating enough you will find the place where flaws are concieved.

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    1. I've heard of that core event concept before, I think I also heard of it as something else, but I can't recall now.

      But it's a great thing to keep in mind when we're creating our characters!

      Thanks for coming by and commenting Christy!

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  3. Great post! You included my favorite quote, and I also loved the thing about how you can never fail, only quit. What a great thing to keep in mind. :)

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    1. Thanks Cassi! I actually printed the can't fail, only quit quote up and posted it in my room- it's a great reminder that we are all "in progress" therefore we haven't failed :).

      Thanks for coming by!

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  4. Very true. I had one of my characters terrified of being in holes in the ground (because as a child she'd been locked in a cellar overnight)and then when she has to escape, she has to use tunnels underground. And this is a woman with incredible mental capacities who you couldn't imagine was afraid of anything. I had another person forced to cross water when he was terrified of drowning.

    I think the thing is, you have to ground those fears so that they're real. A few moments in a character's head is all it needs.

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    1. Both of those are great Greta! And great point about a few moments in their heads- so much can be shown by just reactions. I'm finding that I will try to think of what the most upsetting thing would be for that character- then do it. A complete control freak character in one of my books finds out she hasn't even control of herself really.

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

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  5. It's dangerous ground, but I find many of my new writer, read and critique comrades do not know how to write deep POV. Even though they read a lot, it seems difficult for them to understand that the character is narrating his or her own actions and how important is internal dialogue (if only as a behavioral beat or tag to the words their character speaks or the thoughts their character thinks)to flesh out the feelings.

    Those internal feelings are what help me connect to the characters. So maybe a little less Cinematic View and more Deep Penetration, as Orson Scott Card might say in his book, "Characters and Viewpoint."

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    1. Interesting point, Susan. And yes, you would need deep POV to see the motiovation for a strength that may not be seen from the character's regular interaction.

      Thanks for coming by and commenting- nice points :)

      Marie

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  6. Creating characters that readers can identify with, I think really goes far. If they cannot idenfity with, then they can understand their motives and see the world through that character's eyes--what they do, say and how they act makes sense within the context of the novel.

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