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Character Assassination

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Greetings and Salutations,

It was nice of J. D. Tyler to visit The Swamp. Those guys she brought with her from Alpha Pack were kind of scary. It’s no wonder she was put off by the zombie horde shuffling around. Even the muses seemed to slink off in the face of those guys. I’m still getting used the changes around here. With All Hallows Eve just around the corner I better do it in a hurry. the weeks are shorter here too. Thursday and Friday seem to be the only days you count on. And Fridays are definitely suspect. Let’s get to work.

Continuing on with the theme of fictional characters. I promised you a personal example, but first let me share what Jami Gray said, was one of her favorite characters. Kate Daniels from Ilona Andrew’s Magic Bites

“I sat at a table in my shadowy kitchen, staring down a bottle of Boone’s Farm Hard Lemonade, when a magic fluctuation hit. My wards shivered and died, leaving my home stripped of its defenses. The TV flared into life, unnaturally loud in the empty house.
I raised my eyebrow at the bottle and bet it that another urgent bulletin was on.
The bottle lost.” –Ilona Andrews, MAGIC BITES

In five sentences I know a great deal about Kate. Despite her flaws, her humor (aka voice) pulls me right in and I keep reading.

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Thanks Jami, good example. This gives the reader a real taste of what’s to come.

I will offer up another example if I may? This is Raine McCord, from Shadows Edge by Jami Gray.

With a quick twist of her wrist, Rain slipped the blade between Quinn’s ribs. His heart gave one last desperate beat then fell silent. He slid slowly down her body to his knees in a strange, lover-like tableau.

Wrenching out her blade with a soft grunt, she held him in a gentle grasp, carefully lowering his lifeless body to the cracked concrete floor of the deserted warehouse. She closed his now dull brown eyes, knowing they would join the handful of others haunting her dreams.

In a few short sentences we have met a deadly killer who, took the time to close the eyes of her victim and acknowledged those eyes would haunt her dreams.

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What follows is the first paragraph of Zombie Transformation, my current work in progress.

Alston slalomed his Honda Accord around the light poles that stood sentinel in the vast empty parking lot of MARS Engineering.  The once bustling Philadelphia Naval Shipyard was a ghost town ever since the government shut it down.  He enjoyed driving recklessly across the acres of empty parking on his way to work everyday. Down-shifting he locked up the wheels and skidded into his assigned parking spot.  Designated parking was absurd since the lab employed less than a dozen people.  Everyone parked more or less next to the door.  Bolting from the car, he waved his badge at the reader.  Forcing a smile and waved at the camera hoping Emily was on duty over in the security building.

What do you think? Do you want to know why Alston’s so happy? Or, are you looking for the nearest Goodwill store to dump this book on? Let me know what you think.

Next up. Do you think fictional characters should have some redeeming values? Even the bad guys have something about them that is, if not well-meaning, at least understandable. Right?

There is a crop of dramas being played out every week on television that would contradict that. I’m not an avid watcher myself, but on the rare occasion that I join my wife to watch with her, I am amazed  at the total lack of morals demonstrated by the characters. Even the main character is often cheating, scheming, and manipulating for their own gain.

The popularity of these shows would indicate that the reader might be okay with morally reprehensible people populating a novel. What are your thoughts?

As is the custom here I leave you with the words of someone wiser than myself.

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”  ~Anton Chekhov

 Write On,

Eerie Dwarf

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1 Comment

  1. Okay, there are some serious anti-heros out there (think Dexter and Breaking Bad, even Sons of Anarchy) but for me to pick up an author’s book, there has to be something I can connect with in their MC. Even if they are a cold blooded assassin, who sees the world around them as kill or be killed, there better be something small for me to hang on to or I’m going to let go. Maybe they have a soft spot for mangy hounds or they like to cook (okay, maybe not the last one, that’s what delivery’s for, but you get the point…)

    Reply

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