Wednesday, 21 February 2018

ATTENTION AUTHORS: THINK BEFORE YOU WRITE!


    Okay!  So I've written hateful posts ABOUT Bitch Christie and I've even written a letter TO this vile woman. But now want to concentrate on (HOPEFULLY ) making a difference where a difference can be made.  That is,  wanna-be novelists.

    I speak mainly to those who have it in their minds that they'd like to create series novels.  If you are reading this and aspiring to write a novel series, then the first thing you need to do is RE-THINK your aspirations.  I'm not telling you NOT to write these stories, but SERIOUSLY CONSIDER the potential consequences of your plan.

  Remember, if your story clicks, you are going to be rooming with these characters for any number of stories, so KNOW, before going in, that you are willing to spend time with the group of people that you plan to bring to life.  Consider, also, that fans will be investing time, both by the clock and emotionally, as well as their hard earned money, to buy your books or e-books or audiobooks. No one likes to have their time and money wasted.   SO... If you get to a certain point in your series and decide you don't like...whoever, for whatever reason,  tough!  Look for ways to make the character enjoyable again OR.... create other characters. Maybe, in the fullness of time,  your less endearing character will grow on you or become less important as new characters begin to take over. However you do it, YOU made the choice.

    When you are writing a series, it is VITALLY important
to create an ensemble cast. That way,  if there is a particular character that seems to have a central role, he or she won't be the ONLY go-to. There will be others you can work with.  Thus avoiding the Christie bitch-fest.   The Left Behind series as well and Harry Potter were also excellent examples of ensemble casting, in the books as well as the movies.  As the stories grew, more characters were added. While Harry, Hermoine and Ron were still central there were other 'go-to's ' J.K. Rowling could look to.

    In the Left Behind series, a world-wide catastrophe is seen through the eyes of a pilot who is about to cheat on his wife when he's told, by the flight attendant he's thinking of having said affair with, that fifty people on the plane have vanished,  with only clothes, eye glasses, dentures remaining as evidence they were there.  By the end of the first novel, there are four major characters left to deal with the consequences of this monumental occurrence and what the future would hold. 

However,within even the next book, even that changes.  As world events unfold, more people are added to the fold,  and others go. We learn more about the series'  villain and see his core group of supporters. For myself, I found that I didn't like the daughter of the airline pilot. She was such a know-it-all that I'm surprised it didn't take GOD, quite literally showing up, to convince this chick that her college education didn't mean she knew everything about EVERYTHING.  While I'm in the minority in my opinion, it's good that characters could be so individualized that readers were allowed to have conflicting views.  Other characters would come and go, who would invest the readers in their lives, to greater or lesser degrees. Most importantly, the AUTHORS were invested!  They even managed to make the bad guys interesting. Sometimes even funny. 

    It's in creating worlds  like that which prevent authors from feeling boxed in with their small world of characters. On the other hand, some stories are meant to be 'small town', such as the Anne of Green Gables series.  Not every story can be or even has to be big.  The Anne of Green Gables series has stood the test of time. It's been at or over a hundred years since the first novel was published, and series'  are still popular on t.v. Who would have thought it?

 As for the author, by the time the final Anne story was finished, and Anne and Gilbert began their lives together as husband and wife,  L.M Montgomery wanted to move on to other stories and characters.

This is COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE!   Totally! 

 But there is a vast difference between saying something like ; "Bye, Anne! It's been a slice! But I'm going to leave you and Gilbert to get on with your life while I get on with mine"  and  spewing verbal poison at a character, for no reason!  I've looked for such insults that might have been leveled at Anne Shirley by Ms. Montgomery and have yet to find any.  Either I'm not asking the right questions on my search engine  or Ms. Montgomery had more sense than to vent hatred against a character that she chose to create.

    And there's the key.  It's YOUR CHOICE.  For NOW.  If you are as sure as you can be, that you want to create a novel series, at LEAST take the time to write a profile bible of your characters. Looks, mannerisms, quirks. All the little things that go into making characters memorable.  Think of it like looking for a roomie. What sort of traits, habits, etc.  can you put up with, in a person?  What can you TOLERATE, and what drives you batty?  Keep the 'batty' points to a bare minimum. You have to be willing to work with this person on a daily basis.
 
christie HATED Poirot.
How did he feel about her? 
    A point Bitch Christie SHOULD have taken into consideration. Instead she gives him the eccentricity of being fastidiously organized (My God, NO!)  and nearly obsessed with symmetry.  These points will NOT land Poirot in the WHO'S WHO of HISTORY'S WORST VILLAINS,  but to B.C.  she might as well have been writing a comedy about the holocaust, as much as she loathed what she was doing and who she was working with. 

    But whose fault was that?  The character does not create him/herself.  At the beginning of the creative collaboration, anyway, the writer has the first say.  And in those early days, IMPORTANT CHOICES MUST  be made or you may well end up putting some poor character through hell through no fault of their own.  Is this world so bereft of misery and animosity that you want to create a  hostile working environment between yourself and your characters(s) ?! A root canal without anesthetic would accomplish the same outcome. 

     At the end of the day, if the author doesn't care for their character, then why should the reader?  Don't ask us to invest the time and emotional connection to a character or cast of characters  and then drop the bomb that you WOULD have preferred that root canal, sans anesthetic to writing another story about the very people who gave you your current fan-base. You could lose that fandom in a hurry.  Mind you, there is a passel of christie fans who continue to read Poirot novels, KNOWING her disdain for the man! Even more perplexing is that they insist they love him, even when Almighty ST. Agatha would have scrunched her nose and shrugged at their odd taste. 

   You would do well NOT to risk  that benign indifference on the part of your readership.  While some fans may stick with you, because they REALLY like the characters and stories, others will jump ship and refuse to ever read another of your novels.  Unfortunately, in the case of christie, I can't spit her betrayal back in her face, so I do the next best thing and rag on her the same way she maligned Poirot. Every chance I get!

   Taking that scenario a step further, I'd like to imagine being an ex-fan of  christie's fictional double, Ariadne Oliver; envisioning would I'd do if I'd found out that she hated Finnish detective Sven Hjerson.

     Going tit for tat, this betrayed reader would PUBLICLY humiliate the woman who betrayed her readership by slamming  a box of her books in front of her, and declaring, for all present to hear;

      "Here you are, you back-stabbing BITCH!  Every last one of the Sven Hjerson novels I paid for and read a few times over. Now I find out that all of that time is wasted!?  Well you know what you can do with these books, Mrs. Oliver! And take your sweet time at it, too, since you've effectively flushed your career down the commode! Have fun starving, lady! Because I wouldn't buy another one of your novels unless they stopped making TOILET PAPER!"
   

    And with that, I'd storm off, leaving this vile woman to consider the full implications of her actions. Oh, she would fret about what this would mean to her career, but would she give thought one to what her caustic statement did to her readers?  

   Whatever you do, as a writer, do NOT go there!  If you're having issues with a character, you can write it in a journal with the note (DO NOT PUBLISH THIS!!) Sadly, relatives of famous writers will publish anything of their famous relative, in the hopes of more $$$!  who gives a rip that they're stealing the joy a reader once derived from reading the stories of a particular character or cast of characters. 

  On the other hand, if you don't want to run into the snag of getting fed up with a character you've been writing about for years, then I reiterate my earlier plea;  THINK  BEFORE you WRITE.