Unruly Characters

Lets start this tangent with how many characters there are in Vengeance not including the minor- we see them for a short time maybe a chapter or two and then they continue on with their lives after the main characters leave them behind-there are twelve of importance though a few of those might fall to more supporting roles.  Because of their roles in the story each character has been mapped out somewhat in detail, their personalities, tastes, basically just shy of what character details one might find for just the main character.  Regardless of planning sometimes still characters feel as though they go astray or fall flat, this  usually can be somewhat easily fixed with revisions farther along especially areas where characters don’t seem as strong, but still at times during the long first process of getting parts of the story together it can be extremely frustrating how cookie- cutter flat they can be.  Off the wall moments when characters just do things on their own unexpected wills is actually less frustrating to me because usually if they do that at, least in my experience, its much easier fixed or even flows better despite the branch away from how you originally thought process on how their character was.

The first issue of being flat is ten times worse for me anyway.  Nothing is worse than having an emotionally charged scene, and a character or two just come up short for what the scene needs.  That or have a character who has an important role and re-reading it the way the character handles itself just won’t click with the reader and seems so much short of how you think it should have happened yet it refuses to behave  like the situation I mentioned or in general.  There are a few ways I’ve at least have chosen how to handle the characters.  One is embrace the flatness, use the qualities that make them seem that way and try to add layers that way- example I was just working on a scene that had most of the major characters in their first real moment of awkwardness and un-comfortableness with one another and one character just wasn’t reacting the way I had hoped.  It basically read like a normal conversation for them and what actual reactions regarding the scene seemed forced in a way for me fishing for anyway to make the scene work.  I was ten seconds from throwing my hands up in the air in defeat, after I re-looked at it though- I turned those forced parts into a different emotion that still fits the character, and the tone of the dialogue that is there, just might need more details to pull off believably.  Another thing to do is when you absolutely cannot find the thing you’re looking for in a character is maybe evaluate role and shift them more to the background.  Sometimes the problem is simply too many focal characters and the trouble one is better suited to remain flat and fade more if only for your own sanity than anything.  Haven’t reached that point myself yet, but it has been considered at times.

You spend so much time with these people its always hard to see them go astray and they need you to reign them back into behaving, and sometimes they are just as much people as flesh and blood. This of course is the goal I think to any author, if they feel that way to you and anyone you have look at the book or short story before it is released to the general populace and after their revealing than I think you’ve done it right.  Sometimes the tangents are necessary to their development, sometimes it takes a lot of altering to make them behave, and believe it or not but this post was simply spawned from one of those times.  So my parting question to you all, if you’re a writer how do you reign in characters to where you want them, and if you’re a reader to the tropes bother you if they’re even used in writing and do you even love the flatter characters?

Until next time,

Tiffany

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