Friday, January 04, 2008

No Blog

Apologies for the no - or lame - blog. I'm sick with the flu, strep and some weird ear infection thing that has me hearing echoes. My brain isn't working well enough to come up with a pithy blog. If anyone has something they want to post today, by all means, jump in and go for it.

I'm going to leave you with a line from a book my CP sent me for Christmas: Craft & Technique by Paul Raymond Martin. I don't read a lot of craft books, but this one is pocket sized, and instead of pages and pages telling you what you should or shouldn't do, it has one-liners that make you think. The one that stuck out to me today deals with character:

"Every memorable character has a wart, of sorts."

Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves. ;)


Alice Sharpe said...

I was going to blog for Eli, but she left us a good quote so to heck with that.

I've been thinking about this very subject lately. I was watching a TV show on TV's most memorable characters and I was struck by this very thing:
"Every memorable character has a wart, of sorts."

Specifically, I was thinking about the old Mary Tyler Moore series. You had Mary who was too goody two shoes for her own welfare. Always being used by her friends, struggling to fight for herself.

You had Lou, an irascible chauvinist editor who did what he wanted as he wanted to do it. And Ted, the vain newscaster. Maury, the news-writer, cynical as all get out. Betty White's character, the man eating homemaker from the set next door. Rhoda, the insecure best friend, Phyllis, the snotty, smug friend/nemesis, and Ted's girlfriend turned wife, whose name I can't recall, either real or assumed, who was all innocence and borderline stupidity.

All characters. All with warts and yet with fantastic pluses. All with good hearts underneath (except, perhaps, for Phyllis.) All people we cared about and whose characters fed perfectly into story after story, characters we would follow anywhere.

Like Scarlet in Gone with the Wind.

How about characters you've enjoyed? Have their warts made them all the more likable, believable, endearing?

In my current book, the two main characters are flawed human beings who have made some mistakes. Now they've met and I have been a little worried that people might not identify with or like them because of their flaws. I think I'll try to look at them differently as I zero in what makes them who they are as it leads to where they are going.

Thanks for the quote, Eli.

Barbara said...

I'm sorry to hear you are sick, Eli. What a way to start the new year. I hope you'll be well soon.

I like the idea of a craft book with single lines on each page--it sounds like a good idea for a writer's calendar.

What, only one wart per character? I guess I'm looking for characters with as many warts as I have who are still lovable.

I'm happy to be warm and dry while my townhouse is beseiged with wind and hail. I hope all of you are warm and dry, too.

Paty Jager said...

I like that line! And it does pretty much sum up how you want a character to be portrayed.

In the book that's coming out- Maeve's wart is believing she wasn't lovable enough for her father to return to she and her mother. And because of her hurt, she does everything she can to keep people at a distance so she won't be hurt again. Zeke's wart is believing he can make all things right.

As for a book I've read- I can't think of one at the moment. I've been running around all day and haven't even had a chance to write. So I'm off to write.

Danita Cahill said...

Hope you snap back quickly, Eli.

How about Dr. House on House? Now there's a man who's nearly all warts. Yet his talent is such that we forgive him his rudeness/chemical addiction/love of prostitutes/blatant imhumanity -- or we nearly forgive him anyway. I started to watch an episode tonight, but I simply wasn't in the mood for that much sarcastic cruelty from one character. Other times he's a painful hoot.

Alice Sharpe said...

Danita, I know what you mean about House. He is a great character but he's also hard to watch. I always kind of feel like I;m witnessing a train wreck with him and sometimes he's just too intense.

I think, maybe, I'm not sure and would appreciate other insights, that esp. in a short book too many warts diffuse the issue. Again, I may be wrong, I';m thinking about this. What do you think?

Genene said...

Sorry that you're sick. I'm sending healthy energy your way.

Warts, huh? I haven't really thought about characters that way, but I love Alice's examples. I think it's the good hearts that suck me in. As long as a character intends the best and isn't malicious or hateful, I'm willing to go on their story ride with them.

As for too many warts, yeah, I think they could get in the way of a shorter story where we expect all things to be wrapped up neatly by The End. In a TV series or a series of books where there are several seasons explore those flaws and the writers need to keep the character(s) interesting, a variety of flaws is probably necessary. Just my two cents -- or maybe four cents. It's getting late and I'm headed for bed with all my doggies.

As Barbara said, hope everyone is warm and dry!