Unrealistic portrayals #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone, and a happy Easter weekend to everyone. It’s time to get our chocolate on, lol! I’m heading out of town, and with fingers crossed that the weather holds out. While not unusual in Canada, no one wants snow to ruin their Easter fun.

For today’s post I want to discuss the “too perfect” characters some authors expect us to buy into. Now, to be clear, I’m talking about human characters mainly but also paranormal. Aliens are outside my realm of writing, so they are exempt from today’s roasting. Everything else is fair game, so here we go.

We humans as a species are imperfect – fact. We all have flaws whether we admit to them or not – fact. We all have at least one thing, often more than one thing, that we absolutely hate about ourselves – fact. Absolutely no human being on earth is perfect – fact. I’m sorry if this has caused anyone some upset, but it happens to be the truth. Anyone that says otherwise is a bold faced liar.

So why the fuck do authors continue to make characters flawless in every way?

Let’s be clear, I don’t mean in appearance because this is not the point of today’s post. Appearance is only the books cover. Do we occasionally get snagged first by the hottie on the cover? Sure, and there’s nothing wrong with that or admitting to it. But if that’s ALL we’re looking at then it’s a pretty shallow interpretation. We have to get to know the heart of an individual to truly understand them. Looks may be our instinctive first impression, but it should never, ever be the last. We as human beings are run by chemical and electrical impulses, but it’s the story behind the cover that gives us the context we need. And now that I’ve mixed metaphors, and realities around, let me get back on track a bit here.

Every character needs at least one flaw. Not merely hair that’s unruly or a crooked tooth giving a smile some character, although it does help, but some quirk or trait or situation that makes them more human. Yes, not every character is human, fully or otherwise. But for the readers very human brain to better relate they have to see in each character something that makes them flawed or different or unique. Maybe your character was injured, and everyday is a struggle. Maybe s/he never learned to read until s/he was an adult and still struggles from time to time. You get the idea.

Too perfect characters are the ones with every hair in place, or that just styled look that we all (at least once) wish we had going for us at some point. They have the job, the car, own their house/condo before they’re fifty, dream job, amazing high powered friends, etc. They are the unicorn among the cattle. Look too long or hard and you’ll pretty much go blind. They can do no wrong. And, let’s be honest here, they are as boring as fuck! No one, I repeat, NO ONE is perfect.

Yes, romance is fiction. Yes, there is a fantasy element to romance works. Yes, we all have had dreams about “that” guy being ours. But the sad, harsh reality is that “that” guy is either the biggest dick on the planet, would have you bored to tears before your first drinks arrived, or even worse still, he bats for the other team. Talk about depressing, right?

People screw up, sometimes in little ways and sometimes to epic extremes. This is a fact. This is a reality. And when a character (male or female) screws up and has to dig themselves from the hole they just dug. They’re driving a beater that’s being held together by duct tape and a prayer. They’ve had some unexpected expense crop up that has them sweating making rent, the car payment, or the bill payments. They got a cold they just can’t seem to shake. They have hay fever, or allergies, or something else that seems super mundane but is necessary. We’ve been there, lived through it, or known someone that’s been there, we can all relate to them.

So, authors one and all, remember the seemingly little things. The details that turn your perfect smiling, classical beauty, sex goddess into someone a little less other worldly, and let’s your readers feel closer to them. It doesn’t have to be much, but even a little something makes a huge difference. Keep it real as it were.

Enough to fill an ocean #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

It’s that time again folks, TGIF! Which also means it’s time for another post from yours truly. So let’s get down to it.

Every single person on the planet has doubts at one time, or another. For an author they can be crippling. And while there is no tried and true method to get around them, or banish them entirely, there is one key sentence that you should hold close. For when the wolves are baying outside your window, and doubt comes knocking on your door.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

For an author our voice is in every story we write, world we create, and characters we bring to life. Every word in every sentence tells part of the tale that is our voice. Our voices hold power, it can rise above the masses, or be soft enough that everyone must strain to catch it. We use it to draw outsiders deep within the walls we’ve built, paint the picture we wish them to see, and move them through the full range of emotions. From shock, to anger, to sadness, to joy and everything in between.

We are artists quietly toiling at our chosen craft, quite often in solitude. We’re distracted, absentminded, goofy, spacey, and any other number of terms. Not a single one of us is the same, except in a singular matter, doubt.

What if this is too much, or not enough? What if they don’t take, or worse what if they do? No one will read this, or will they? Maybe I shouldn’t put that part in, but what if I do? Can I say/do/have that in there? What if no one buys it? What if no one likes it? What if they hate it?

As I mentioned in last weeks post, you can’t please everyone. So push those questions drilling holes in your brain and squashing your creativity aside, and write. They are doubts, some will be stronger than others, but that’s okay too. You are allowed to doubt yourself from time to time, but do not let yourself get bogged down with them. Grab hold of something real, something tangible and yank yourself up from the mire that’s trying to swallow you whole and drown you. Throw your shoulders back, tilt your chin up high and let out a warriors cry.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

Make yourself a compliment jar. I know, it sounds silly, but trust me on this. Put in it every compliment you’ve ever gotten, each one written on it’s own piece of paper. Put in every great thing you’ve done, whatever you’ve accomplished (big or small), and everything that instantly brings a smile to your face. Pack all those little pieces of paper into that jar and leave it in your work space. When your doubts have you up against the ropes pull out one of those little things and give it a read. Embrace it, remember it, remind yourself that you are NOT your doubts.

And when in doubt (no pun intended) it doesn’t hurt to throw your head back and scream at the top of your lungs for no reason at all. It’s definitely cheaper than therapy, and a hell of a lot of fun. Especially in a crowd.

One size doesn’t fit all #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Welcome one and all. As we continue to shake things up on the blog I now get to post on a brand new day. This is going to take some getting used to I have to admit. I usually get a few hours to contemplate my post(s), all while sipping one of my many cups of coffee on a Saturday. So bear with me if my spelling mistakes suddenly take a huge upsurge in frequency, lol!

Today I want to discuss authors who are trying to be all things, to all people in their writing. Like my title says, one size doesn’t fit all. There is literally no way in this time or any other where you, the author, can satisfy every single person who will read your story. It is mathematically impossible.

There will always be someone, somewhere (usually in multiples) who has an issue with something about what you’ve written. Whether it’s the time, the location, the clothing, the language, the sex (it’s usually something about sex), how long the story is, how short it is, how much you/your publisher charged for it (that’s the other very popular complaint), the cover (pretty rare), or your creative interpretation or licence in regards to some detail (especially with real world places/locations). No matter how hard you try to write something that “shouldn’t” offend anyone – let me be straight with you here and now – there WILL ALWAYS be someone you offend.

Roughly 90% of the time it’s someone who just likes to hear themselves toot their own offended horn. 5% of the time it’s someone who didn’t a) read the description of your book (how dare you write an erotic romance and put it up where someone might buy it!), or b) disliked something you put in, or how you wrote it up. The other 5% is someone who’s offended by something, goes on a massive tangent, and it has NOTHING to do with your book. At all. As in, they didn’t even read your work but something else entirely, but put their rant and low one star rating on your product. You can usually tell from their overuse of capitalization, long winded sentences without any punctuation, and some reference to some point that never got near your work even in your earliest days of outlining. For example, you wrote a story which is in 19th century France, but they are going on about the fucking robots on Centurion Prime, and such things. These folks we like to recommend reporting and ignoring.

While most authors do try to watch their “turn of phrase” in a book they write, along with any local slang that might confuse a reader, and we all have some that have been part of our language since the first day we began to speak, you can’t go about writing your story while trying to dance across eggshells. As an author you have a solemn duty to yourself, and your characters to write from the heart. Yes, ensuring you are staying accurate with any real world location/event is usually a good idea, but we’re authors. We are licenced to occasionally flex our creative muscles for our stories. If you like a certain building in a certain city you’re writing in, but don’t particularly care for the fact it’s a fashion store go ahead and make it your own. You’re one hundred percent covered. It’s in your legal portion right up front in the book before you hit the good stuff – at least it damn well better be! In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, this is Evernight’s official “covering of our author asses”:

“This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.”

In other words: They know a guy named Joe who they hate, and had to kill in this book because doing it in real is illegal – and they don’t look good in orange. They adore that building in that city and while we know a bunch of you readers live there, they happen to hate what’s in it so for the sake of their story they are stealing the structure and using it for their own evil plans (like a BDSM club, muahaha!). They know all about that big ass war they are referencing as vaguely as possible (or maybe not so much), and you readers who were history buffs totally clued in but for the sake of their story line they moved it a few days/months/years to make it all fit.

Stuff like that.

We write fiction, even those who are writing historical or period works. Fiction, all of it. Which means ignore those folks who are tripping over the fact that you changed up their favorite spot in some city to work into your story. If they have issue direct their uptight selves to said legal speak and continue on with your day. We’re authors, we need to stretch our creative wings to ensure we are remaining true to what our muse has given to us as a gift. Naysayers need not apply.

Now, before I let you go, one last thing. This has been said a few times on here before, but because of what I’ve just written I want to emphasis this here and now. NEVER, EVER GET INTO IT WITH A TROLL. People will leave crappy reviews, so be it. People will leave shitty reviews that are in no way related to your work, report them and move on. People will try to get up in your metaphorical face on social media, remember your zen place and point to the legal stuff before going about your day. Do not EVER get into a battle of words with a troll, or some ignorant fool. They will only drag you down to their level by raising your blood pressure – and they are better at the low blows because that’s all they have ever known.

So, write what makes you happy. Write what makes your characters clamor to be heard. Write what makes you smile, bite your lip, or squirm in your seat. Write for yourself. You cannot please everyone in this life, so don’t let them take a second away from what you are doing best. Writing.