Friday, May 23, 2014

FRESH ON FRIDAY: Working the Issues

YOU ALREADY KNOW (and we have said here previously) that the characters in your novel should not be perfect. Most novelists get that.
   Flaws, issues, challenges: readers relate to characters who have those. But for your novel to truly sing, you need to work those flaws, those issues and those challenges.
   For instance, in my debut novel, Yucatan Deep, my protagonist was a cave diver so haunted by the loss of his best friend that it really wasn't wise for him to continue diving. And my deuteragonist was the protagonist's fiancé, a brilliant and talented trauma surgeon, deaf since childhood.
   Naturally, the surgeon does not want the diver to go back in the water. And this conflict comes to a boil while they are out for dinner at a nice restaurant in West Palm Beach. So they have a heated argument ... in public ... in sign language.
   Virtually every reviewer commented favorably on that scene. A couple of readers wrote and said that they wanted to marry the trauma surgeon. I felt bad, writing back to let them know that she existed only in my imagination.
   So, are your characters in your work-in-progress less than perfect? Good for you. 
   Now go put their issues to work for you.

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