Writing

The art of being compelling

I’m having some trouble with my new heroine. Primarily, my trouble is that I’m not certain how to make her interesting to the reader (or even to me).

Lily is not the depressive mess that Sarah/Luci was. She’s not planning on committing suicide; she doesn’t hate her life. At the same time, she’s not an effervescent sack of joy and kittens, either. I cannot portray that convincingly, because that sort of person drives me crazy (perhaps out of jealously?).

So what sort of person is she? More importantly, what is her story? What is her central conflict? Why should people care about her and be interested in her? What does Lily want out of life, and how does that tie with what’s going on with Mischa?

There’s always the possibility that her story, whatever it may be, will not tie in, and would be so different that placing it alongside the terrible things going on with Mischa would throw the entire book off kilter, making it essentially unreadable due to the constant mood whiplash, etc.

The troubles I’m having with Lily have again led me to start thinking that this story is not one to be told, that making it work is not going to happen. This is not a new thought; I’ve trashed Exorcism several times before. Maybe I should strike out in new territory, and leave this mess behind me, rather than continuing to force it. (Mischa would not complain about this course of action.)

But if I do this, then where should I direct my attentions? I have mixed feelings about the fantasy genre, for instance. I don’t read fantasy, but I play fantasy games. I don’t read much science fiction, but I was overjoyed when Blizzard finally released the third part of StarCraft II, and I have enjoyed several science fiction films. I love horror in its many forms, but I don’t want to create more – the world has enough problems, and I’d like to write something that my daughters can enjoy reading later.

Perhaps fantasy…

(I can hear my acquaintance Edward Coté now: “It’s a trap!”)

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