Author’s Advice Pt. 15

Learning Separation

So you’ve created the perfect character or characters. They’re everything you wanted them to be. Their personalities are perfect, they’re well-liked by your audience, and everything is going well. Then as you get deeper and deeper into your writing, you begin to feel like you’re living through their experiences with them. Suddenly, you’re protective of that character and your writing becomes far more cautious.

I’ve had this happen to me and wound up having to go back and rewrite a lot. At first I thought I was the only one, but over time, I’ve seen it a lot in young adult writers, and a lot of fantasy work. It get’s fairly obvious as the story goes on how the author feels over a particular character, either they aren’t allowed to grow as much as they could, or they’re coddled in the story.

Writers, if this is happening to you, stop. Back away for a moment and reread your work. It’s okay to let bad things happen to a character, even if that character is one you really like. You’re not going to hurt anyone because that character is just that, a character. You didn’t create a real living person as much as it my feel like you did. Trust me, after actually having children of my own, I’ve seen the difference.

Learning to detach yourself from the story and be the author, instead of a participant is very hard to do, especially when it’s a story that you really enjoy, but to a point, it is necessary. Otherwise, the story will be too safe, and trust me, that’s not what you want.

They say that sex sells… well… it does… to a point, but lately sex hasn’t been selling as well as edge has. What do I mean by edge? Well specifically the amount of unorthodox risks a writer is willing to take. Some dark realm that no one else has visited and the joy of seeing just how far you can get away with pushing things before people say you’ve gone too far. That’s what readers like in this day and age. Protecting you characters and writing a safe story for today’s YA and adult populace won’t be well received.

If you have any questions or need further elaboration, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thanks friends, catch you on the flip side,
Jim


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

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5 thoughts on “Author’s Advice Pt. 15

  1. harmony77uk says:

    Happens to me a lot… Changing from first person helped, but didn’t cure

    Like

  2. jbgarner58 says:

    Reblogged this on J. B. Garner – Musings of a Starving Author and commented:
    I particularly like this. Writers are a passionate lot, especially about the characters they create. Learning to be able to take a step back is vital!

    Like

  3. I don’t plot or plan or outline, so everything I write is a surprise to me. In my first novel, some of those things were very unpleasant surprises. I didn’t leave those incidents out, but I did try to make them fit for public consumption. I’ve run into more dodgy material in the work-in-progress, and although it’s not as surprising this time, it’s still not fun to write that stuff. Writing about uncivilized behavior in a civilized way is tough.

    Like

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