character, writing

Character Flaws

A while ago I sent an early (read: way too early) draft of my current novel to my agent.  A week later I got a note back saying, “You know we love love love you and your work, but–“


Okay.  The draft had some issues.  I agree.  And the biggest problem I had (and have always had) is writing the protagonist.  For some reason, even if I manage to get “in the zone” while writing my mood always bleeds through.  If I’m in a good mood, I go wild on the setting — painting sunsets and flower gardens where there were none.  But when my mood is black?  It’s the main character who takes the brunt of it.

When I get stalled in the manuscript, so does she — suddenly she’s passive.  Things happen around her and she sighs into her handkerchief.   When I have doubts about my writing and wonder why the hell I didn’t become a plumber, the protagonist gets whiny.  She complains about everything.  And when ideas won’t come and writing feels more like misery than pleasure, my main character gets just plain hostile and lashes out at everyone. 

Ooof.  Like me.

But it’s fiction, remember?

So that’s what second (and third and fourth) drafts are for.  Trying to figure out what eating me and fixing it.  And trying to figure out what’s eating my character and fixing it, too.  Or not.

Because nobody’s perfect.  Not even on the page.

4 thoughts on “Character Flaws”

  1. I would say, stop having her sigh into her handkerchief and have her eat a sugared roll. I kid, I kid. You're a fantastic writer and your moods should infuse your character…it is an extension of you. And then you edit. It's writing, baby…it ain't no brain surgery! Keep at it.


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