Monday, January 28, 2008

Writing realistic characters

One of my little writing issues for the weekend has been about toning down my main character, a professional thief, to make her more realistic. I'm torn about the need to do so, for one thing. Big Damn Heroes are always a bit larger than life, and they always have skills and knowledge not found in the public at large. I'm not trying to write Our Town; I'm writing a supernatural suspense story about a burglar and ghosts. But it's possible to take an extremely skilled character too far; a character cast from the James Bond mold, better than the experts at everything (outskiing an Olympic skier, outflying fighter pilots, et cetera), becomes pretty boring, quickly. And I definitely don't want a character to turn into Anita Blake (lusted after by everyone, extremely badass, unnaturally capable, etc). It's cartoonish and it makes a book easy to put down.

Still, I'm not happy with the way the character's developing. And I've hit the point where I need to make some big decisions about what happens next before I do much more writing. I think I'm on the verge of needing an outline. I never thought of myself as an outline kind of writer, but it's looking kinda necessary....

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