He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

May 21, 2009

On creating characters, rewrites, Kris Allen, and Glee.

Some good writing article links found me by way of Twitter and Google Reader this morning, and now I shall pass them on to you, because they are thoughtful and contain good advice. First is Holly Lisle on creating characters you can respect (via Marjorie M. Liu, who adds to the conversation here), which essentially boils down to, "You have to write the people who resonate with YOU." This is something I already know, but I need to be reminded whenever a reader tells me that they don't like, or don't get, or can't relate to a character I've written; that if I like, get, and/or relate to said character, then there are others out there who will, too, and they are who I am writing for, and I will do them (and me) a disservice if I try to change my characters to be more broadly accessible. Which is not to say that I should just ignore that kind of feedback; it's useful in getting me to understand why a character might not be entirely likeable, and whether they really need to be that way, and sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes it's no. It's good to question it. But it's not good to make knee-jerk personality changes hoping that everyone will love the character like you do. That's how blandness happens. It's also how Mary Sues happen.

Moving on... there's also KidLit on how much revision is normal? Short answer: a lot. This article is both relavent and strangely comforting to me, as I have two novels in the revision stage; one of which has already been rewritten from scratch twice, and I've a sneaking suspicion (read: dread) that I'm going to have to throw out the B plot and rewrite it entirely from scratch again, which I'm not really looking forward to. But I think it's the thing that's keeping the story from being more than just okay, and it's too integral to the main plot to be tossed out completely. I've been avoiding working on this book, in denial that such extensive rewrites are necessary, but this article is helping me come to terms with that necessity, and even almost looking forward to the rewrite. Almost.


Speaking of almost, that's how close I am to being done with the new JMBauhaus.com. I've just got a few more minor tweaks to make to the template, and then to switch the domain over, and then it will officially be "live." I'm quite proud of the design, and I learned a lot in the creation and implementation. And that's all I'll say about it until the actual launch, except that I would have finished it yesterday if I didn't have to stop and mow my lawn so everybody and his brother with a lawn service would stop ringing our doorbell asking to mow it for us.

I'm glad I did, though, because it's kind of hilarious how happy short grass makes Pete. It's also understandable, considering he's only about six inches tall. But now he keeps wanting to go outside and roll around in the short grass and lie there in the sunshine and chew on a hunk of wood he found somewhere, which makes me oh so glad to have spent money on actual toys for him to ignore (that's not true. He loves his toys when h*e's indoors. But that hunk of wood makes him unreasonably happy every time he goes outside).


I'm glad Kris Allen won. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can go ahead and skip this paragraph, because you probably don't care. I was going to post yesterday about how I wouldn't be surprised if he did win, and why, but then the mowing happened, and then I was just too tired, and then it was time for the finale. But anyway, my reasoning was that, while Adam Lambert is undeniably, insanely talented, Kris Allen is more accessible. Like some of my characters, Adam Lambert has a more narrow appeal. If this were purely a talent contest, Adam would/should have won. But there were so many other factors that made Kris's victory not at all surprising, including that he's as easy on the eyes as he is on the ears, that he probably needed to win more than Adam did--because Adam WILL be (and already is) a rock star regardless of whether he is the American Idol, and he probably would've gotten there eventually without this show, anyway--and, last but not least, he was a huge underdog. I tried to vote for him for that last reason alone, but I couldn't get through. And also, if that victory song had to be committed to recording by one of them, I liked Kris's version way better, and I'm glad I'll never have to hear Adam sing it again.

Other things on TV this week that made me happy: J. T.'s win on Survivor (which wasn't nearly as satisfying as Coach's ouster, which would only have been more satisfying if it had happened much, much sooner), and Glee. I expected to like Glee, but I didn't expect it to live all the way up to its hype. It did, though, and now I'm in love, and pining, and Fall can't start soon enough.


I have errands to run later. The good thing about it being Summer and there being nothing on TV is that there's no hurry, since I don't have to get back in time to watch anything. Even so, I should get back to work on the site redo. Unless I have to go help Husband brace part of the fence, which he just informed me might be happening soon. Either way, don't stop believin', y'all.


bojojoti said...

I appreciated the links to the writing posts.

JMBauhaus said...

I'm glad you liked them. :)

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