Monday, May 14, 2007

Writing life

I'm sure I've blogged about my weird attraction for my literary opposite before. Please feel free to skip this post if you're bored. I'm still thinking about it so. . .

One of the standard pieces of advice to beginning writers is to write what you like to read. For me this doesn't work. First,I read it all poetry to philosophy . . . Second, my favorite reads are character driven stories. I believe the main attractions is their skill balances my weakness. I admire what I have little natural aptitude for capturing on the page -- memorable fictional people.

Identification of a problem is the first step in solving it. Hence my on going efforts to get stronger at portraying well-rounded characters.

Until entering the writing community I assumed everyone was like me and naturally gravitated toward books with sympathetic and unique characters. But I've learned better. There are those who are enchanted by a riveting plot and happy to get by with rather sketchy story characters. I can't think of any incompetent writers who are perennial best sellers. But there are those who are strong plotters and those who are definitely character driven.

So what are your favorite reads? If you write romantic comedy is your favorite escape read horror? If you write traditional romance do you read thrillers for fun? Or is it just me that adores their opposite?


Blogger Lori Borrill said...

No, Evanne, I'm exactly the same way. I love a good horror story, and I can't write horror for beans. I also love good thrillers and suspense plots, mysteries, all those things that feel too complicated for me.

Not that I wouldn't like to try them some day, but for now, I prefer just being a fan.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Hey Lori,

I'm glad for your good company. It's no secret, at least not on this blog that characterization is the toughest for me and the authors who do it well don't need to stress over plot in my opinion.

Earlier today I had kind of a epiphany -- that what is even more important than memorable characters is a making a connection between the story world and the reader. Character is simply the most popular road.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Lori Borrill said...

I wouldn't disagree with that. But how exactly do you connect with readers? (And that's not a hypothetical question. I'm seriously interested in how to do that).

9:56 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Lori, in romance usually it is through the characters. But as I perused the NY Times best seller list is occurs to me there are other routes. One is situational the hero is an average joe caught up in something big than he is and has to rise to the occassion. David battling Goliath -- that the situation itself makes us root for the underdog. Injustice, overwhelming odds, suffering, peril are all situational hooks. This isn't new thinking - just a better understanding of why the 2-D characters succeed in some plots. IMHO the reader is filling in the missing pieces and projecting their idea of who that protagonist is onto the rather skimpy characterization. When it works it works better than brilliantly written protagonists.

If it's okay with you I'd like to expand our discussion for Wednesday's blog . . .

7:18 AM  
Blogger Lori Borrill said...

Of course! I think you've touched on a really, really interesting topic I haven't seen discussed often (if at all).


8:01 AM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Lori, Cool - I'll try to put my cloudy thoughts into clear prose tomorrow ;) - maybe someone else will enjoy our discussion.

5:59 PM  

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