Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesdays with Gwen and the problem with nicey-nice

Gwen just left after our usual Tuesday writing jam. I decided instead of futzing about with management systems for my novels looking for homes - I would keep on my third book - Earth Bound. In 2009 I wrote my requisite 50 thousand on it to win NaNoWriMo - on jumping back into it today I know why. It is flabby, people - really, truly, flabby. So I'm killing my fat darlings and so on while I get back into the story - then I'll go forward.


my grandson, Riley, looking for ghosts...

Gwen and I talked about a problem we both have. We don't make it hot enough for our protagonists.  We don't make them suffer - we baby them and want everything to be nice for them. What do you think that does for conflict? You got it. Sucks like Gwen's new vacuum cleaner only not in a good way. And what do you have when you have a story with no conflict - one for the round file. I don't mean the two that have gone out don't have conflict but we both noticed that business of turning up the heat on our protagonists is our bete noir and a constand hassle. We'll get there though. And maybe by the short cut instead of writing it all nice and then having to take it apart. In Earth Bound I found that the killer is someone I quite like. I got to thinking I had to make this person eviller or make someone else the killer. But I don't want to. I want to have a killer who is quite likeable. We'll see.

Any of you suffer from the same problem?

11 comments:

DazyDayWriter said...

Don't write a lot of fiction, Jane, but I'd read a book with the title: A Net to Catch the Sky. (something to tackle in your spare time, right? :) Re Earth Bound and how to make your bad guy really really bad ... I don't have much advice, sorry to say. But have you ever read Roz Morris (London writer and author consultant)? Her blog is Nail Your Novel and she has a book on amazon w/the same title. Roz is amazing! Just a thought ...

Jan Morrison said...

Thanks DD - I have read and used Roz's methods - that's where I found out about the beat sheets that I now use. She is great! Hey, you're right 'A Net to Catch the Sky' is a good title - now I'll have to come up with a novel - I do always start with a title...hmmmm....

KarenG said...

I read in a writing book by Sol Stein to make conflict everywhere, even in minor conversations between characters. He gave some excellent examples to show what he meant. That was some of the best writing advice I've seen.

Glynis Jolly said...

Yes, I most definitely suffer from the same problem. My main character is always way to sweet.

Hart Johnson said...

I have a history of being too nice, too. It is so hard to be really horrible to people you come to love, eh? I hope the diet for your darlings is successful and you can get back to it! Meanwhile, I am making notes for you on Rock Walkers! (I'm enjoying it!)

Words A Day said...

I think I've the opposite problem - My revising involved trimming back episodes of adultery, car crashes, violence and turn a murder into a tragic accident! Maybe its because I'm so nice in real life! (or mundane!)

Cruella Collett said...

I think it's a quite common problem. To be a truly efficient writer (in the meaning being able to add a sufficient amount of conflict from the start), one probably has to be part sadist. And not nearly enough of us are (as the writing community generally seems quite nice). So, a good personal quality (being nice) becomes something of a writer problem (being too nice). I suppose I prefer being nice and having to fix it in the edits... :)

Clarissa Draper said...

Having a killer that is quite nice is perfect. As long as you lock him away.
CD

Talli Roland said...

I'm way too sadistic to baby my protagnoists! :)

Danette said...

I'm intentionally trying to write a main character who is a not nice person and who is going to be involved in some very nefarious schemes and my other book-- I don't think I have a problem making things too rough for her. I think I need to make things lighter sometimes. More hilarity.

DazyDayWriter said...

A Net to Catch the Sky is still running through me head, Jan! What would a novel with that title be about, as you muse above?

I will let you know if I come up with something helpful, but in the meantime, here's a quick thought: the sky might be falling in the life of your protagonist ...

Have a great week! --Daisy