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The Way Things Are, Could Be, and the Role of Fiction

I don’t write these kinds of posts often… but, well… I just can’t not, this time…

I’m going to say some stuff that people won’t agree with. That’s fine. Say I’m wrong, I’ll listen, and I’ll consider. That’s as much as I can promise.

Amid all this rape culture media coverage (earlier in the year with the boys in the US and more recently with, shamefully, NZ’s own), I have realised that as I happened to include sexual assault in HEALER’S TOUCH it is a responsibility of my characters to deal with it in a realisitic, and hopefully healthy way.

Something I have been realising with fiction: it’s one thing to go out there and say, “Look, this is a bad guy doing bad things, we blew him up… that’s what happens when you do bad things… but, look, this good guy isn’t totally shiny, but he’s not that bad, so he’s cool”… But what about saying “Here… this is how it could be done… grow up like this guy/gal”? Just a thought I’ve been having.

It’s a tough one. Because to go out there and design a character, or three, that you think are the best role models for the world is to assume that you know best… which, well, who can?

I like to think that Jonas is a good

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Awkwardness… – #8Sunday

So here I am again, sharing eight lines of WIP for the Weekend Writing Warriors’ #8Sunday.

“Welcome” to new readers, and “Thanks for coming back” to returners.

Sorry to those who were looking for a little more explanation to last week’s entry. I’m going to have to remain tight-lipped on that one… too much spoilery information for HEALER’S TOUCH… But I love this bit, so I hope you will, too…

To set the scene for this one: Jonas and Llew have just attended a funeral for someone dear to them and have headed out for a walk to reflect. Jonas complimented Llew on her speech… and Llew brushes him off like so:

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Llew reached the fence and turned to look Jonas up and down.

“I didn’t say anything.”

“Well then, what you didn’t say, it was real nice.” He

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Round, round, get around, I get around…

I think I’m getting better at this interview thing

On another note… I was struggling with making progress on WARRIOR’S TOUCH over the past couple of weeks. Then last night, I had a thought about a scene that was OK, but just wasn’t quite doing it for me… Write it from another POV! At the moment, the scene is in Llew’s POV, but I’m going to have a go at Jonas’ later today. As soon as I had that thought, a whole lot of new dialogue came flooding in, and even a whole new scene! I had thought I’d keep WT in Llew’s POV, even though the story is more about Jonas’ issues because, as a reader, I get quite attached to reading through a particular character’s eyes. But I think it’s going to go a little closer to 50/50. There are a couple of Braph POV scenes again, too. And a new POV…

Oh, and I crossed the 60,000 word mark last night. Yeah, na, I’m not 50% through the story…

It pays to ask the tough questions… of your characters

So, I was reading this blog post by Kristen Lamb, and I got to thinking what a good exercise it would be to ask my own characters the questions near the bottom of the post. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent a whole book and nearly a half with these guys, I know them pretty well. But, do you know how easy it is to just carry on thinking you know your characters without really stopping to think? I’ll tell you… really, really easy.

The questions are (paraphrased):

  • What is his/her greatest strength/weakness? (Bearing in mind, the greatest strength is often also the greatest weakness)
  • What is his/her greatest fear?
  • What problem could make him/her struggle the most?
  • What problem could force tough moral choices?
  • What problem has the highest stakes?

Now, the last three questions are more “story” questions that are derived from the first two, which are “character” questions. The last three only develop real impact once the first two are answered.

I asked the questions of Llew and Jonas. Llew didn’t surprise me much. Jonas shouldn’t have. And yet,

Read more…It pays to ask the tough questions… of your characters