Monthly Archives: May 2011

Convergence Of Characters

I’ve always been a fan of books that have multiple protagonists.  Usually based on this you are able to see different sides of the same story and can get differing perspectives.  Now reading a story with multiple protagonists is one thing but writing a story with multiple is a completely different beast altogether.

In one of my current projects I have 3 protagonists and they spend 3/4 of the story never knowing each other.  Due to the story they all 3 have their own struggles trying to survive and then at the end are thrown together for the final 1/4 of the book.   Throughout the story each character has their own trials and tribulations and naturally grow because of it.  As the writer during this process I learned a lot about the characters and got a better sense of who I wanted them to be.  By the time I got to the point where they all come together I had a great idea of who they were as individuals, but had to then find out who they were as a group.

It may sound strange to some but I found that the 3 characters didn’t exactly have meshing personalities.  I had always planned on them coming together but never really imagined the amount of conflict it would cause between them based on who they had become.  Now for the story I think it ended up working out great.  There is nothing more boring then a group of people getting along,  but it was a little unexpected.

How about you all?  Have you had a WIP in which your character(s) evolved into something you hadn’t planned?  Did it end up working out better or worse in the end?

 

 

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So, Uh……What’ Cha Doing?

I like writing.  Not sure if I’ve told you all this yet.  Sure my blog name is Nothing To Read Here: The Misadventures Of An Unpublished Writer , but I still wanted to make sure you all were aware of this.

Now as I have said in the past one of the reasons for starting this blog was to keep me motivated towards my writing goals.  So the next question one might ask is, what are your writing goals?  That is a great question & thanks for asking!  I have two goals: 1) Publish a novel.  As of now I am actually looking into possibly self-publishing through CreateSpace and through the e-book format (Kindle, nook, etc).  2) Enter the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.  Now in order to accomplish both of these things I have a LOT of work ahead of me.

For self-publishing I need to put the finishing touches on my novel  tentatively titled Dark Horizon, reformat it for the e-book formats, advertise the ever-living crap out of it, release it, and then advertise the ever-living crap out of it.

In the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest I need to actually finish my current novel, which is currently around 40% but still requires some basic research, edit it & then submit it.  This actually has a deadline which should be around January of 2012 unless they change it.

While working on these I still have the usually domestic duties of work, yard/house maintenance, and being a dutiful husband.  I would be lying if I said it didn’t seem intimidating but it is very possible.  Thanks to this blog and the friends I have made from it I have been getting plenty of inspiration & quite a lot of work done.  I just figured since you all have been following my mindless musings you would like to know where my boat is attempting to sail!

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The Jetson’s Don’t Have S*** On Me

As a young child I didn’t know a whole lot about anything (Except maybe the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).  The only thing I was 100% confident about is that when I wanted something I wanted it NOW!!  Sounds spoiled and I can’t deny that I probably was just a little bit spoiled, but just because I wanted it doesn’t mean I got it.

Whenever a new toy or game came out I can remember begging my parents to take me to the store to get it, only to be told “maybe this weekend.”   Then when the glorious weekend appeared I was told “maybe if you’re good.”  You have no idea how many times I acted like a good boy just for the chance to get that new toy.  All around the world kids were throwing fits and getting into trouble while I sat around being good.  Quite the waste I know.

When I got older and had a ride and money of my own it still didn’t get a whole lot better.  I grew up in a town of about 4,000 people, the nearest retail store (A Wal-Mart naturally) was about 40 minutes away but it wasn’t a SuperCenter back then so stuff that interested me was limited.  I was big into video games  back then so if I wanted a new game I had to go to the 2nd nearest city about 45 minutes away, pick up said game, then drive another 45 minutes home while wistfully peering at the unopened game laying in the passenger seat.

I can remember watching an episode of the Jetsons where they ordered something and instantly it flew into their house through a tube.  As a kid I shed a single tear when I realized this was not possible.  Flash forward to the present and it essentially is.

I want to play a new game all I need to do is get on the internet, click on an icon to pay for it, and instantly it is downloading to my computer or game console.  Is there a brand new game coming out in a couple of weeks, go to Amazon, click an icon to pre-order it, and get it delivered the day it is released for FREE (Release date delivery rox!).  Or how about those movies that I love so much?  I have Netflix so all I have to do is click a button and I can stream thousands of movies instantly to my TV.

I think it is a good thing younger mean didn’t know that things were going to get this good.  I already had a hard enough time enjoying the moment and would constantly wish I could grow up faster.  Yet there is one thing that younger me didn’t realize about this future I wished for, and this same thing I have learned painfully over the last handful of years……when it is easy to buy something and get it nearly instantaneously it is very easy to empty your bank account in a matter of minutes.  So I guess I could choose to go back and have money but have to wait to get the things I want, or be poor but have the ability to get everything instantly.  This is America, the creator of instant gratification, I think you all know which one I would choose  🙂

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Filed under Life, Ramblings

A New Door Opens

I’m about to cross the 30 year old threshold and my life, for the most part, has been very blessed.  I had two parents that loved me very much, and while I didn’t get everything I wanted I had everything I needed.  Like everyone while growing up my family had challenges and times were difficult, but for the most part it would be selfish of me to complain.

The reason I bring this up is because I have a half-sister that I never really knew.  It’s a very long & complicated story and to be honest I don’t know all of it, but it boils down to she lived with her biological mother and I can count on one hand how many times I remember seeing her.  We shared fathers and last year my father passed away.  I saw her at the funeral we shared a few words but didn’t really have the time or emotional stability to talk in depth.  After the funeral everyone went back to the way things were and we never talked.  Well recently she came by my house and to make a long story she has four kids who don’t have a lot of family and wanted them to get to know the little family they have.  While we were talking I learned a lot about how she grew up.  Her biological mother wasn’t the kindest most loving person in the world, she ended up being homeless for a stretch,  went to jail for a short time for writing a bad check, had cancer, lost a child,  and has struggled just to survive.

Of course I agreed to meet her children, my nephews, and we ended up going to a local place that is the equivalent of a Dave & Busters.  We had a great time, they are great kids and I look forward to continuing to develop a relationship with them.  The title of this blog is A New Door Opens because that is literally what it felt like.  I am really good at cultivating and  living in my own little world completely ignorant of what is going on outside of it.  Suddenly my world has become a lot larger and my past & current struggles have been put firmly in perspective.

I write this now shortly after our first meeting and don’t have any idea what is going to happen in the future.  What I do know is that I have the opportunity to develop a relationship with a sister I have never really known, and hopefully get the chance to be there for my nephews when they need me.  I have walked through this new door and I’m genuinely  excited to see where it leads me.

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The Evolution Of Loss

I just finished a book that I have somewhat mixed feelings about, I don’t want to name the book because what I’m going to discuss would kinda spoil it.  The thing that I enjoyed about the story is that towards the end the main character lost someone he/she loved and the novel followed him/her for a couple of years after that loss, and showed how he/she coped with it.

Now unfortunately I have lost a few individuals in my life that I love deeply and was very close to.  Even if you haven’t ever lost someone close to you I am sure you have watched a movie that shows the immediate aftermath when someone dies.  Everyone sad, hugs given out, support shown, crying ensues, etc, etc.  Now the thing that is not always touched on is what it is like the months and years following that loss.  In my case there was an accident where I lost two family members and the initial struggle was simply trying to wrap my brain around what had happened, then the chaos of setting up the funeral.  Skip to 5 years later and I have learned how to live my life while at the same time appreciating what those individuals meant to me.  In movies you usually see the 1st part and then it skips ahead to the last part, but I think the most difficult part was the stuff in between.

Someone told me shortly after that you have to find a “New Normal” and that seems spot on.  In the years in between when I was happy it never reached the same heights of my pre-loss happiness.  At times it really did seem like I was merely going through the motions.  There was almost a numbness to life shortly after that.  I never searched for meaning in life before the loss, but that was all I could do after.  The same memories that used to give me such joy seemed to do nothing but cause me pain & heart ache.  Yet as time passed joy returned to those memories, pictures no longer caused me to turn away, and certain songs no longer caused me to jump across the room to turn off the radio.  I wish it could have been like a movie where within an hour I had dealt with my demons and become a better person, but as anyone who has lost someone knows it is not that short.

Even now I find it near impossible to describe in words which is why I feel the author did such a great job presenting the emotions through the main character.  I felt the characters struggle and more importantly he/she didn’t live happily-ever-after and have the story fade to black with a little Disney logo hovering above it.  You never truly get over the pain of losing someone, it is a everyday battle.  As time goes past the battles are not as often and are not as brutal, but it is not something that ever goes away.
Again I do not want to spoil the book so I will just give you the name of the author, David Nicholls.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. – Kahlil Gibran

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Filed under Loss, Writing

There Is No Point To This Blog

One of the things I am already struggling with is blogging about nothing.  To clarify I don’t mean not having a subject to center the blog around, I mean blogging without attempting to have some over-arching theme or point.  My hope for this blog is (at times) to have an almost stream of consciousness where I can throw my thoughts onto my monitor to either inspire myself or simply as a cheap form of therapy.  Yet already I feel myself waiting for some grand idea to center a blog around.  So in order to attempt to fight this I am literally blogging about blogging about nothing.

I have already gotten a chance to slip into other people’s minds and worlds by checking out their blogs, and it is very rejuvenating creatively.  At the same time I want to continue to write and focus on my projects so I will have to come to terms that a large portion (if not all) of my blogs are going to be complete and utter non-sense.  That at times reading my blog will seem the equivalent of the Family Circus comic strip where you follow one of Billy’s trails as he runs all over the place.

So for those of you who risk your sanity by attempting to follow along with my mindless ramblings I thank you & remind you that I am not liable for any minor or significant brain damage that may occur due to this.  Until then

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I Like My Protagonist Flawed, With A Side Of Tragic

People are not perfect. I apologize if this comes as a shock to you, but I rather doubt it does. Because of humanity’s lack of perfection I find my favorite book protagonists are the ones that are deeply flawed and for the most part down-right unlikable. A great example of this is Dark Places: A Novel by Gillian Flynn.  The protagonist, Libby Day, describes herself (most accurately) with the following: I have a meanness inside of me, real as an organ. Slit me at the belly and it might slide out, meaty and dark.

So what is it about these deeply flawed individuals that I find so compelling?  Is it because I find them more realistic based on my skewed views of humanity? Is it because I hope they will find redemption or some king of happy ending? Or am I just a psychopath that wants some company?  More than likely a mix of all three.

In the main story I am writing right now one of the main characters is a very dark character and is not very likable.  When you have a character that is unlikable and does some very dark deeds how do you get the reader to feel for him?  It is something I am struggling with and am hoping to accomplish.  Dark Places and other stories with flawed characters help give me an idea of what can be done, and I would be lying if I didn’t admit I am interested to see how far I can push the unlikable-ness meter and still get readers to care about my protagonist.

What about you all, how do you like your protagonist?

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