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Friday, July 23, 2010

Wannabe Writer #26

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Where I am in the writing process:
Still unpublished, but I've sent off two short stories for possible publication.  HOping to hear something positive soon.

My current problem:
Time.  Isn't it always?  Right now is prime visiting time from family members, and in a couple of weeks I'm going on vacation for a week.  I find little bits of time here and there, but not enough to keep up with 50k in 50 Days.

My question:
How do you make characters' motives clear without spelling it out for the reader?  I have a lot of mixed characters in my current WIP.  They aren't fully good or bad.  For example, one of my characters is Lucifer, and while he's evil, he does have moments where he's sweet or funny.  So how do I show his mixed motives without making it too boring for the reader?

6 comments:

J. L. Jackson said...

I hope your stories do well. Time is always a critical factor. I have a hard time finding the time as well. Good luck this week!

Lexi said...

I find that having characters interact in conversation usually show more than tell. I try to avoid adverbs because if something is said sarcastically I usually feel that the dialogue should show it without me telling anyone. Also thoughts can be handy.
About time, how about taking some time early in the mornings? Although I shouldn't talk, I've been so time constrained for so long that I don't really even remember how to write any more.

Amanda said...

Good luck with your submissions!

As for your question, for ambiguous characters like that, I always think back to a couple really well-done ambiguous characters: Snape from Harry Potter and Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Carribean movie. I don't think it's boring to the reader of the character changes naturally depending on the situation. The reader then is left trying to figure out if the character is more good or more bad. In the end, neither Snape nor Captain Jack are fully good or bad characters, but the end up leaning more to one side than the other, without ever being perfect. I think showing those mixed emotions will actually be more interesting than boring for a reader.

Amber said...

I've found time has been the biggest 'writer's block' for me as well. Sometimes I wish I had a cave to just slip into.

Robin McCormack said...

Will keep fingers crossed on your submissions! If your writing about lucifer I don't think any of it will be boring to the reader. Sounds like an interesting story. Yes, and time slips away from me everyday.

Witless Exposition said...

Thanks so much for the comments! The family left about an hour ago, so I'm trying to catch up; we'll see how it goes!

@J.L.--Thanks for the positive energy (as my hippy friends say).

@Lexi--Thanks for the hint about adverbs. I can get a little heavy with them, mostly because I'm worried the dialogue won't come across like I mean it. I'm also learning more and more that morning is the best time to write.

@Amanda--Snape's one of my favorite characters from the novels. I think he's the best complex characterization (way more interesting than Harry in a lot of ways).

@Amber--When you find that cave, let me know!

@Robin--Thanks for the crossed fingers! Every little bit helps. I'm hoping other people will find the novel interesting. Now if I can only finish it!

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