Saturday, July 28, 2012

Making the Cut

In my last blog, both blog and comments mentioned the importance of characters. Characters you love, characters you love to hate, and basically, characters you just plain can't get enough of.  Snape from the Harry Potter series immediately comes to mind for me (as do most of the HP characters), and so do Aziraphale and Crowley from "Good Omens", Granny from Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" series, and Elizabeth Bennett - do I need to say where she's from? :)

Since I've been trying to pare down WIPs and ideas to ones that I can be truly excited about, I decided to take a long hard look at the over 100 characters currently residing in my Muse's employ (that is to say, those who are taking up cubicle space on my computer, not those who have simply put in their applications and are waiting for me to get back to them.)

I'm sad to say that I had to fire all but about 10 of them. Which means a good 90% got pink slips. Wow.  Oh, they cried, they begged, they lied about sick grannies they needed to take care of, but times are tough and the slackers had to go.  Granted, some of them weren't that bad (I'll still give them references and "Like" their Facebook pages) but they just didn't add enough benefit to justify the cost of keeping them around.

Yep, I'm a cold-hearted slavedriver. This writing stuff ain't for sissies. Now I just hope the ones who are left will pull their weight (glares as they hunker over their desks).

So, who are some of your favorite characters, and why?

And what advice would you give to an out of work character so he can find work again? :)

Monday, July 09, 2012

I think they might be missing the point...

I read an article recently that Hollywood is scouring the indie books to find more like "50 Shades of Grey" so they can buy the film rights. That reminded me of how so many of the children's and YA books that came out after Harry Potter were all about the witches and wizards, and then later, all about vampires after Twilight came out.

Now, I have nothing against erotica, witches, or vampires.  I happen to like them all. 

HOWEVER, trying to make lightning strike twice using a copycat approach just doesn't work, in my humble opinion, and here's why:

The reason I loved the Harry Potter series wasn't because it was about a boy wizard at a magical boarding school. I loved Harry Potter because of the characters, and the way the books made me feel.  I loved the fun and the mystery. The magic and supernatural elements, and the fantastic world building were all wonderful, granted - but they were still only a part of it. The real appeal for me was in the characters I fell in love with - characters I wanted to spend time with, and get to know. 

Recently, before I had even read the article about Hollywood copies, I had started looking at my own WIPs and deciding what was worth keeping and what wasn't. Thought about the books I like to read, and why.  Thought about the type of book that would make me super excited to get to the keyboard every day and keep at it until I typed "the end."  I realized that I wanted characters I would love as much the characters in my favorite books, settings that were so real I could feel right at home, and a nice dash of mystery and fun.

And guess what?  They don't have to be boy wizards or sparkly vampires or kinky guys tying people to their beds for that to happen.  :)

How about you? What keeps you excited to get to the keyboard/pad of paper?