Thursday, May 7, 2015

Why Did Your Character Take That Job?

I am always amused at the jobs many of you give your characters. I do wonder if you give them these jobs just to surprise the reader. In most of the cases, you have given these characters professions that are not only unnecessary, but end up creating more problems as you try to weave that career into the storyline.

Consider the pretty stereotypical small town story. The heroine, a nice city girl, ran into problems with a boyfriend in NY. Now her 7 figure law degree is not as fun as it was in the past so she runs to Bodfish, California (by the way, this is a great little town) to open a cupcake store. The fact that she has no ability to cook, or for that matter has never run a business doesn't seem to be a problem. Really?

OK, try this one...

The heroine meets up with this great guy. But then we find out he has to be a professional football player. Don't get me wrong, this is not an issue, but the fact that now you have to weave that whole element into the story when it wasn't necessary for the plot just sucked up essential word count. This is word count that could have gone to better developing the main characters' real stories.

You have to understand that the job you give the character could potentially become another character in the book. If the job is not essential to the storyline, then find something that isn't really going to have an impact on the story.

So our lawyer doesn't have to open up a store, but can go there to take a year sabbatical to get her head in the game.

The football player could simply be an athletic guy which would give him an "in" for making connections with the heroine's little boy who needs a father figure.

Just remember, going to extremes may not always be the best approach.

1 comment: