|Me, being intense. Also, what's up with the different-sized eyes?|
Okay, so get to what you're talking about, Morgan.
When I first began Rubinrotes herz eisblaue see, (Red Ruby....), I created a mean, nasty Daddy figure and took him to my writing group. WARNING: DIGRESSION: One place to put sensitivity aside is in a trustworthy writing group. It's important to take charge of your own writing and your own intent in a non-emotional fashion, and to understand whassup, before you present your piece. Know when a piece isn't ready for the light of day and protect that baby until you've provided it with a lunchbox and knapsack and can wave goodbye to it without weeping. Go in honestly wanting to know what folks think, and never expect it to come back to you without at least one skinned knee.
Anyway, the Daddy figure in the book was pronounced 'cliche'. Ouch. But not a horrible ouch, just kind of a wince and a shrug of the shoulder to remove the demon riding on my shoulder. What did I do with their information? I took every response that Daddy had to a situation - cranky at the least; threatening and emotionally damaging at the most - and I turned it around. Example: Cliche Response: "If you don't stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about." Non-cliche Response: A nonverbal hug. Another example: "If you say anything like that again, I'm gonna smack you." Non-cliche Response: "I'm ashamed of you and I'm walking out now. I hope I don't hear you say anything like that, again."
Mind you, I did not change who he was, a working-man with a minimum of education, a love of drink, and an easily confused emotional psyche. New Age drumming circles weren't invented when the character was created, but I did humanize him, tried to take where he had come from and invest that in his personality and in his love for his family. And I did that for all of the characters, particularly the ones I didn't like. It made us all work harder, and it made for a much richer experience for me as a writer. I wasn't bored when anyone walked into a room. I was always entertained at what took place.
That said, when I write a first draft, I will often 'cliche' the characters to get the writing down. And then I will change it all - the reactions, what happened as a result of them, how the narrator reacts to what is being said and done, and so on. But it is important to me to get it all down. I'm messing with a lot of ideas and a basic plot at this point, and I need to start somewhere. The shades and hues of the personalities concerned take shape as I go along, as does everything else.
|Me, smiling. Still, what's with the eyes? Well, at least I can change the reaction.|