Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I am firm believer that no matter how talented of a writer you are and no matter how wonderfully crafted your plot is, your work won't survive without good characters. Characters are what drive most any story forward. They are the vehicle in which your audience drives through the story with. There is nothing more disappointing than loving the plot of something, only to realize your cast is bland and insipid. Or even worse, you have written a Mary Sue (or Gary Stu). Whats that? As defined by Wikipedia:
"A Mary Sue (sometimes just Sue), in literary criticism and particularly in fanfiction, is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as a wish-fulfilment fantasy for the author or reader."
That doesn't mean your characters have to be likeable, however. In the end, it should all boil down to relatability. I am not suggesting that your characters have to match up with the likes and dislikes of the reader, but give them flaws, bad habits. Make them human. We relate to that which we understand, what we can sympathize with. A perfect example: I was playing a game where the main heroine was a huge Mary Sue. I hated her, and she was borderline ruining the game for me. Then, a scene was shown where the character got jealous. So jealous that she got angry. It completely caught me off guard, and suddenly my hate melted away. I actually felt bad for her. She had shown a human quality that  I related too. Sad to say, it was the only moment in the game where she exhibited such behavior, and she quickly transformed back into her one dimensional state. But for that brief moment, she was a character who I still didn't like, but wanted to know more about.

Flaws seem to be the easiest way of making a character three dimensional. Have them bite their nails, give them a horrible temper, make them horribly antisocial. Small quirks make somebody interesting, and not just story fodder. I recall, when I first starting writing my novel, I wanted to create a character for exactly that. Plot fodder. However, as I wrote him, his mannerisms and quirks surprised me. When the time came to it, I realized he had suddenly become an integral part of the cast. I couldn't get rid of him.

Characters can make or break your story (most of the time). So, unless you have a very specific idea in mind, I highly suggest taking the time to plan them out. To at least give them a foundation of a personality. Then, you can let the rest write itself.

Friday, May 18, 2012

When a Hobby Becomes a Chore

A long hiatus from novel (and blog) writing has been taken, and while I am not at all surprised (I know myself well). I am bit curious as to how exactly I expect to someday form a career out of it when I can't even keep myself in momentum for more than a few weeks. Morbid, yes, but honest.

I haven't stopped writing completely as I've taken some Roleplaying with the new game TERA. I originally was going to bring back Taeniel (the same character from my earlier entries), and wrote a few things for her, but in the end, I got bored.

I know people say, 'Just write, even if you have nothing to say.' But that bothers the hell out of me. If I write when I don't 'feel it,' then whatever I put down on the paper is shit. At least from my perspective. Maybe I am too harsh a critic, but writing because I feel I have too never seems to bring out the best in my abilities. The worst part of it all is that I am unsure what causes my boredom. I know where my current novel is heading. Each plot point and area is already set up, but every time I start, I keep seeing flaws, and the desire instantly leaves me.

Maybe the key is just to barrel through, as others suggest. In the end, you can always go back to edit and spice up what you put down. I suppose that's wherein my main problem lays... I want everything to be perfect the first time is put down. Something clearly unattainable.