Thursday, June 19, 2008

 

BTT: Flavor

Booking Through Thursday has regained its stride, I'd say.

Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

I think any of you groupies around here will know my answer: it's all about character. If you asked me to describe that eternal classic Flowers in the Attic, I'd tell you about the evil grandmother, the panty-waist mom, the curious kids who were a bit too smart for their own good. Maybe I'd mention the air that hung over the whole book, dark, dank, and malodorously ugly. But I'd definitely talk about each character's personality.

Same for just about any other book I read. Heck, I just finished The Rapture of Canaan and found myself thinking more about the character of Ninah and what a catalyst for change she is, versus her grandfather, around whom the society revolves. Really, the story's about a community in flux, but not to me. It's about how Ninah puts them there.

Now, to get a bit more personal...

If you're not a groupie but just dropping by to visit, you should know that I'm a writer, and that one of the things that keep my regulars coming back to read the fiction that I post here is ... yes, you guessed it. The emotional investment that all of these guys (and myself, of course!) have developed to my character, Trevor Wolff.

Here on the blog, I love to write about moments, outtakes I call them because they aren't long enough to be a short story and they aren't as fully contained as a good flash fiction ought to be. I pick these moments from the years leading up to Trevor's Song, my novel awaiting publication, from the time around when the book is set, and I've even done one or two others that are set after the time period of the book.

Everyone comes back, time and again, week after week, to see what Trevor's up to this time. Even if my readers can't relate directly to Trevor, they key into him in very astute ways. They see that his gruffness is just a cover, that he's smarter than he pretends to be, and that he's a hell of a people person -- in his own way. And when he and Mitchell start playing off each other, it's better than George and Gracie or Lucy and Ricardo. (However, that sort of implies that the boys are gay, which they're not. In fact, in the book, they find themselves in a bit of a love triangle, with a redhead at the center of it. Sort of.)

As a reader and as a writer, it's all about character. The literary agent I'm still in discussions with has described Trevor's Song as a character study.

That ... umm, characterization ... of my work flatters me beyond words.


If you click on Trevor or Mitchell's names, you'll be taken to a page on my main website that gives you a quick character sketch. At the bottom of each page are links back here to the blog, direct links to different outtakes and Thursday Thirteen lists and other fun I've had with these two pretend men. Or you can go to the Free Downloads section of the site and do a tiny bit of reading in chronological order. Your choice, but I do invite you to poke around and become a groupie, too!

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Comments:
I agree that it really is all about the people. It's scary how real a character, whether my own or someone else's, can be sometimes. People who don't understand think we're weird to talk about characters like they're real, but they ARE real.
 
We all love Trevor, for all his idiosyncracies and faults. For us he is real despite his quirks!

Hope your novel get published soon..

Here is my BTT post
 
Wow you have a whole world of invention going on here! Great BTT!
It does have a lot to do with characters, and character development, I agree.
 
What Bunny said -- they are real. They are real in a different way than we are real, granted, but they move us to emotional responses: laughter, tears, incredulity, agreement, amazement... much the way real flesh and blood people do. And with the best characters, characters like Trevor, we feel we know them in much the same way we say we know our co-worker, our cousin, maybe even our best friend.

So yup, it's all about character for me, too. :)
 
Addictive, people... I'm warning you!!! SHG created these characters that sometimes seem more real than people I know ;)
In fact... I know Trevor better than I know Susan - LOL
 
That's intentional, woman!
 
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