Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ennui: Writer Style

Okay, so I don't talk about my WIP so much, but I do want to ask a question of all the lovely writers meandering through this blog on occasion:

Do you ever tire of a character?

See, I've a highly organized WIP, which means I've been planning and strategizing and outlining (while still leaving room for creativity, I assure you) for great deal of time. When I finally started writing the novel, it poured forth. It's still pouring forth. (*Knock on wood*) Life is good; no complaints.

Except for Eliahna. She is vital to the plot. But every time I write a scene with her in it, I feel careless, bored, like I don't want to write. Every other scene writes itself. Scenes with the dear girl plod along -- I can barely make a thousand words in a sitting.

Have you ever experienced something like this? What did you do? Did you plow through or throw her out? Any suggestions?

In the meantime, I think I'm going to beat her up rather badly so that I at least feel sorry for her...


Anthony said...

I believe that is your writer brain telling you her character voice is not there.

Either her unique voice comes out in the writing, or scrap the tart for someone interesting.

Not very helpful, I know.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anthony.

When this happened to me, I pressed on, and ended up having to cut 16,000 words from the manuscript because it was that boring. I stopped, retooled the character and set off again. Now I'm 5 scenes from the end of the book and its flying.

I think your lass might need a rethink, and your brain is saying *stop now!*

Iapetus999 said...

+1 on those comments. If you're bored writing it, I bet readers will be bored too. Cut or kill off the character. She's essential to you, not the reader.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

It's hard to know from what you've said why she is important. You might try interviewing her, just like you would a real person. Ask her questions and write down her first-person responses. That might tell you more about who she is or why she isn't working as you want.

Scott said...

I have to agree with everyone else - cut the character. I've learned to trust my instinct when writing - if something isn't working, I step away from the writing for a day, come back, and normally end up deleting what I wrote, and rewriting the scene.

Your lovely character integral to the plot is obviously not working for you on some level. If she's not working for you, she's probably not going to work for a reader. Cut her, changer her, do something to her so that you, and hopefully your readers, become excited about that character.

Best of luck.


Charles Gramlich said...

It may not require cutting the character but certainly sounds as if you need to re-vision her. Have an imaginary campfire conversation with her, feel out her weird side, find out what makes her want to do bad things

stu said...

She's currently a vital plot device, not a character. It's the same sort of thing that is sometimes behind minor characters taking over. They aren't constrained by what's needed of them so much, and so you have more fun with them.

One thought might be to brainstorm all the potential alternate versions of the character, including the downright weird ones, until you find one you like.

MG Higgins said...

You've gotten some great advice here and since I'm late to the party I have nothing to add. Good luck with it! And I do know what you mean about not enjoying writing certain characters.

Terresa said...

I'd pause and have a tall frozen hot chocolate. And then reconsider the character you hate/are bored with/can't stand. Taking a pause may make all the difference.

Lady Glamis said...

You have received excellent advice. I've had a similar experience, and what I did was start writing journal entries from that character's POV - either in the time period that the character is in the story, or before or after. It helped me get closer to the character and find out some really amazing things to get me excited about them. You'd be surprised what your character will tell you if you listen!

If that doesn't work, and you're still bored, I'd consider a way around her, maybe? If you're bored, your readers probably will be too.

inlandempiregirl said...

That is why you need to move into memoir. With memoir you know the people and can weave a story based on their highs and lows. Right?(:

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Brian Stone said...

I'm still reading this post, and I know you shared it several years ago. But it was SO HELPUL. Thanks for sharing.
I just finished my Swords and Sorcery story. I had so much fun creating the characters and the things they do and the story that happens around them.
I'm looking for guidance on query letters, and some examples point out the short stories and magazine features and awards prospective writers list.
Now I'm thinking, "Did I sabotage myself by trying to write a novel first, instead of getting a few small wins under my belt?"
Also, even though it's not a representation of the Dungeons and Dragons universe, my story is based on that universe. I want to work with Wizards of the Coast to refine my story so they want to publish it.
My greatest concern now is finding an agent who likes the type of story I've written (young sword-swinging barbarian heroine who challenges evil wizards, wants to represent my work,and would know which editors at Wizards would also like such a story.
Thank you again for this source of guidance.
Take care.