Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Character Depth

Good Thursday morning, fellow book lovers. Today, I want to discuss characters.

We all have characters in our lives. We ARE characters. Art imitates life, right? So if that is the case, what is the recipe for making a fictional character seem real?


Look at any person you know. A neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, your spouse. Can you really fit them into a box? I hope not! I don't think that's legal...

Anyway, my point is, your spouse may be a die-hard Metallica fan, but love sappy movies too. Or maybe you know someone who watches UFC but loves a sad country song. Does this make any sense? We all have very different sides to us.

Do you interact the exact same way with your mother, your child, a co-worker and your spouse? No. Why Because you have depth. You have many roles in life. How you relate to your mother is going to be different than how you relate to a co-worker.

For example, my mother and I break out into show tunes and I occasionally give her tap dancing lessons in her kitchen. Needless to say, that doesn't fly at a high-paced veterinary practice. Instead, I am intense and focused at work. Different roles, different sides to my personality.

So, the idea of someone like Liz from Loving Her: a red-headed, heavy-metal-listening, classic pick-up truck-driving ballerina may not seem so far fetched. If I can love show tunes and tap dancing, but also an intense pace of veterinary medicine, why can't she have those different sides to her personality?

She can, and she should. What service would I, as a writer, provide you (my reader) if my characters were boring, two-dimensional and predictable? None. Who would want to read that book? I wouldn't!

That's why, even Tony in Unbreakable Hostage has moments where you can see he's more than just some kind of monster. Not everyone is all evil or all good. And that MUST be portrayed in writing if it is to be accepted as somewhat realistic (and believable).

It has been said that my stories are character driven. Some authors might take offense to that. Not me. Look at life. Everything in our lives happens because of someone's words or actions. It's not a bad thing at all. My characters create and live their own lives just like we do. And just like us, there are MANY sides to them. They may be fictional, but they are human, just like us. ;)

Happy reading!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Not Accepting the Status Quo

Greetings, dear readers! I apologize for the tremendous gap in between blogs. Some of you may be aware that my life has taken some incredible twists and turns over the past few months. But, I am back on top and ready to conquer the world AGAIN! ;)

One of the things that I have noticed since moving to this rural area is just how much people, at least around here, are willing to just accept things as they are. I don't know if it's because they don't know any better/any other way of living or if they truly are satisfied with how things are.

For example, there are people around here who will travel up to 3 hours just to go to their vet. Seriously? Seriously. These people may not be the majority, however, the majority around here averages anywhere from 20 min to 1 hour. Now, we're not talking 1 hour stuck in rush hour traffic, people. We're talking regular, open road, 55 mph driving. But that's the way it is around here. There is just nothing here. Things are so spread out, you have to travel. And most people around here simply accept that.

Me? Not so much. I'm a city girl. I'm used to vets and Starbucks on every corner! LOL. In all seriousness, though, I still struggle with the sparseness of life around here. I can't and won't settle for life this way simply because I know of a better way to live (city life, or at least suburbia).

That applies to everything in my life. Not one to just accept the fact that NY didn't allow marriage equality, I made sure my voice was heard. Then NY passed the marriage equality bill. Now, I know it wasn't all due to me. That's not my point. My point is, I didn't accept the status quo and I helped to bring about a positive change.

I do the same with my writing. There are too many imperfections in this world. I realize that we will never fully fix them. but I can still mke sure I help to bring about more positive change by not accepting the status quo in my writings.

In Loving Her, there is not one character who doesn't fight to bring about change in her life one way or another. None of those women will settle for the status quo. They are strong and fiesty. They want more. And you know what? They get more, all because they would not accept life just as it is.

In Unbreakable Hostage, Lareina does not accept her life as a captive at all. Had she settled and just accepted things as they were, there would be no story! She refused to settle, and you get a great suspense story as the result!

In Trajectory, Joe does not settle for his job. He realizes that his status quo is something far greater and darker than he can stand. He brings about changing his whole life by not accepting the dark, morbid life he leads.

In Imperfect (and the up-coming sequel, Impeccable), neither Carol nor Alex accept things as they are. If they had, Carol would never own her own company. Alex would never get sober. They never would have been together due to their own issues, as well as the bigotry an inter-racial lesbian couple faces. But they push on. They challenge themselves and the world around them to see more, to do more, to think more. The end result are two beautiful and powerful stories of love, change, devotion, heartbreak, family. There is tremendous change within these stories, but they also bring about tremendous change in the reader as well!

I, personally, simply cannot accept things as they are. I cannot accept prejudice of any kind. I cannot accept intolerance. I cannot accept the fact that people still label other people. So I don't. And I use my writing as a tool - a vessel - to help others see and hear what I see and hear. For them to think. To be challenged. You never know. Wanting more than the status quo could just be the greatest thing since sliced bread! ;)