Hey Fatty–the end (finally)

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fatass.jpgApologies again for the gross delay in getting this last lesson out. Life intervened in a big way. Due in part to character problems. Which is why I wanted to chat about what to do when you get stuck.

Currently I’m writing two heroines in two novellas who are night and day. Somewhere along the way with the first heroine I lost track. Funny enough I know exactly what I did. With a hero who’s a hired killer, I spent a LOT of time making sure he was likeable, that you could see his growth etc…and the heroine fell by the wayside.

I got an email from my CP that basically said, “I’m not connecting with her anymore.” Of course, at the same time, I was emailing her with, “OMG I’m stuck. I took a wrong turn somewhere. I just can’t nail this ending. hEPL!” LOL

OTOH the second heroine is rich and spoiled and well, has no conflict. Obviously this is a problem. Now I have to go back and weed in some conflict, which luckily was easily found.

And often, as writers, we can’t see the forest for the trees so here are some helpful suggestions:

1) Trust your instinct. Nine times out of ten if something feels off with one of your characters, that’s because it is. At the same time, I’ll be the first to admit I’m my own worst critic, but I’ve learned over the years to trust my gut.

2) Go whine to your critique partners. They will probably see something you don’t. Even if you don’t quite know what’s off, another brain always helps. And even if they don’t see the problems that YOU see, their observations could help you figure out where you went wrong. And help talk you off the ledge.

3) Print your manuscript. There are things that you will see on paper that you’d never find on a computer screen. Don’t whine about the trees or the cost of printer cartridges. Go invest in a cheap HP Laser printer. It’s well worth the cost, and a tax deduction. Jackie Barbosa (who is not only my editor at Cobblestone but my CP) is the ONLY person I know who can get away with not printing a hardcopy and editing.

4) READ your manuscript. Maybe this one goes without saying. Not only does it remind you that, hey it really doesn’t suck, it’s another way to help pinpoint a problem.

5) Walk away. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just take a break from the work so that you can go back and look at it with fresh eyes. Go read a book or walk or *gulp* clean or something.

Now……..back to the WIP 🙂 I hope ya’ll enjoyed this and got something out of it. Again, feel free to post questions and please feel free to post some of your own character-making misery so we can commiserate. I’ll pick five winners on…Monday…from all the commenters last week and from today’s post who can have their choice of Aphrodisia titles.

7 thoughts on “Hey Fatty–the end (finally)

  1. Great post, Amie. I agree that a lot of times when you get stuck in a story, it’s because you’ve taken a wrong turn for the characters earlier on. The first manuscript I wrote after my fifteen year hiatus from writing, I wanted the hero and heroine to get in bed together early on, but I discovered that just didn’t work for the characters I’d created. Neither of them was ready to make that step until about 75,000 words into the book.

    As to my being the only person you know capable of editing exclusively on screen, I have to say that pretty much all of the editors at Cobblestone are as well, so I’m hardly unique. But I’ll also tell you that I think one of the primary reasons I can do it is because I’ve been doing edits online for fifteen years in my dayjob. It’s sort of the only way I know HOW to edit any more!

  2. I’ve been thinking a lot about my characters lately, so this ws couldn’t come at a better time. Thanks for taking the time. 🙂

  3. #3 and #4 work really well for me — I print my MS out bookstyle and take a pen to it (I use a strategy called picture-framing).

    And there’s something about re-reading that centers me in the story all over again and lets me see it as a whole.