As writers, we have to do a lot of analyzing. Our characters, the worlds they live in, our plots…All these things are thrown under the microscope.
But we should probably analyze ourselves, too.
See, there’s this thing that happens sometimes in writing called wish fulfillment. It happens when writers don’t analyze themselves or their plots or characters, and end up blatantly writing themselves into the story.
A lot of the these types of stories end up being corny and either predictable or statistically unbelievable.
And usually…not that fun to read.
So look at yourself. And look at your characters.
Now, look at you.
And now your character.
Are you just looking at yourself repeatedly?
If you are, you might have more problems in your story than you currently think.
I’ll be honest, my first full length novel likely held a lot of this, but was mercifully swept away by electricity. Back before cloud storage was so prevalent (circa 2008), the laptop and the external hard drive the story was backed up on…both fried.
So I’ve been spared the horrors of my first novel. Lol.
Now, I’m not saying that you can’t give your characters experiences from your life and still have a good story. Often times, it helps, lending the story and characters a bit more realism.
But if your character is a carbon copy of you, you’re probably going to write a story that just bends to your whims, whether it makes sense or not.
That breeds plot holes.
A lot of them.
Because fiction has to make sense, and our little whims rarely consider logic.
If your character just happens to be the chosen one, okay. That’s a fantastic trope.
If everyone they know magically accepts them after hating their guts for literally their entire lives…eh…maybe okay. Depends on how much they need your chosen one. The stakes better be damn high.
But even then, there will probably still be some people who don’t like them.
The bad guy who’s been a bad guy for their whole life and completely outmatches your protagonist in every way isn’t going to change everything about themselves and bend to the whims of your protagonist just because it’s the end of the book and the romance tidied itself up so now you just want to resolve the other issues super quick.
Nah. Shit don’t work like that.
If they meet someone on their adventure and fall in love? Okay. I love a good story that also has romance.
If that person magically fixes literally all of your protagonist’s problems? Nah.
Life doesn’t work that way.
And unless you’re writing for Disney, that’s not gonna fly in your book.
People will pick that shit apart.
A good partner, a good love interest for a story will help them deal with things, help them see the good in themselves. But if they just magically fix all the problems in the protagonist’s life, that’s not realistic, and…is your protagonist even in love with them? Or are they in love with how easy that person makes their life?
A.K.A….How easy you wish someone would make your life?
So look at yourself and look at your story in reference to yourself.
If your book has a lot of things that are just too convenient but you like them…maybe you need to adjust it a bit.
Because the characters aren’t you. What you like and what you want in your real life has no bearing over the story.
So…maybe take a personality test? There are tons online. See if the results also describe your character to a t. If they do…maybe look a little deeper at the rest of your story.
Analyzing yourself will give you some practice for when you turn your critical eye on your characters.
Now, as for being critical…
I’ve been editing a lot. I finally finished the 3rd person to 1st person conversion of my post-apocalyptic novel. I’ll be telling you guys the official new title soon, perhaps with a little teaser of what the cover will look like.
Because the cover is designed, just not sized properly. I’ll have to make adjustments to it when I format the manuscript. (I won’t know how many pages it’ll have for each trim size until after that, and that affects the spine width. Just FYI, in case anyone was curious about how that little portion of publishing works.)
Anyway, to cleanse my palate a bit before making final tweaks to this one and doing formatting, I jumped into edits of Where Darkness Leads.
Anyway, I’ve kept you all away from your NaNoWriMo projects long enough. (Yes, that’s a hint.)
Keep reading. Keep writing.