Friday, January 6, 2012

I'll get you, my pretty!

Let's continue our discussion about writing a strong plot, thanks to the Writers Digest article in the previous post. Today's topic: REVENGE.

Right away, we have to make certain that our protagonist is likeable and sympathetic or readers simply won't care about the character or what s/he is trying to accomplish. Most of the time, our protagonist is innocent of any wrongdoing. Afterall, we want to write about nice folks, don't we? So, whatever is wrong wasn't his fault.

But what if your main character is a villain, or you decide to write your book (or portions of it) from the villain's point of view, as I did in Just North of Luck? This worked well for me because I wanted to show readers that even though this man was mean and cold-hearted killer, he was horrendously abused as a child. I had to grab some sympathy from readers so they understood why this man, a highly intelligent and talented man, came unglued and took out all the crap Life dealt him on innocent people in a close-knit community. His methodical plan for revenge ended in his demise, of course, at the hands of my protagonist, but the point is REVENGE drove the plot from his perspective.

Have you ever written from a villain's point-of-view, or had a protagonist who got caught up in revenge rather than justice? Please comment for a chance to win a free copy of Just North of Luck.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Learning from every book I write

Good cold morning from eastern North Carolina. The coffee pot is gurgling and I'm looking forward to editing/rewriting more of my latest project, The Goose Parade of Old Dickeywood, a novel about lifelong friendship. Even though I have four novels published in the Logan Hunter Mystery series, and each one was challenging in some way, I struggled with Goose Parade for months and months, sometimes frustrated enough to walk away for a while.

I was trying to write Goose Parade in first-person point-of-view, like the Hunter series. But it just didn't work. I made posters of sections I wanted in the book. You know, the lessons learned from geese? So once I divided the book into Honk, Rotate, Drag, Uplift, and Protect, I thought I'd be home-free. HA!

I have learned that not only can I not force characters to do something in the book that's out of character for them, I can't force the plot either. One morning as I stared at the pages, my mind as blank as my billfold this time of year, it dawned on me that I can't tell this story in first person. I must tell the story of all four major characters in this book.

It truly amazes me at how much of a learning process EACH book becomes. I am once again enjoying the process and moving on with what I hope will be my best work yet.

Have you had a similar experience? Do you learn something new with each book you read/write? Please share you experiences in the comment section for a chance to win a free copy of Genesis Beach, my first novel.