Problems with Protagonists

Last Saturday I had another meeting with my writing group. Two people couldn’t make it which meant that I was critiqued by four people this month.

Many of you know I’m working on a mystery series titled George Florence. It was originally called Detective Florence and decided to change it.

Everyone in my group seems to enjoy the novel really well so far. I’m happy with it and I’m happy with the feedback they’ve given me, both good and bad.

Now, before I explain my problem, I have to say that I’ve been thinking about making some changes to my novel. One, I’ve been rethinking the POV. Right now it’s in first person with George as the narrator since he’s the protagonist. The more I write this series (three books written so far) the more I wonder if it should be third person limited.

Why? I’m not entirely sure. But if I’m thinking this then somewhere in the back of my mind must have some good reason, right? It wouldn’t hurt to try, right?

Okay, now I’ll explain my problem…

No one in my writing group really likes George. They all love and adorable Lilah, who is the female protagonist, but George is the main-main character… and they think he’s a wuss.

As sad as I am to admit, I agree with them. George does not have the personality I originally intended for him to have.

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

George has been a character in my mind for years. I first thought of him while writing in a notebook at Barnes & Noble with my sister. I had about 40 or so pages written. The plot was different, the characters were different, the setting was different… the only thing that remained true over the years was George and the title. Lilah wasn’t even a sparkle in my eye at that time.

For an experienced detective, George certainly should not be acting the way he does. Lilah takes charge, she’s bossy, she knows what she’s doing–when she probably shouldn’t.

I told them I knew George needed to be flushed out more. I told them I was thinking of changing the POV. I also told them that Lilah seems to have squeezed her way through and started taking over the story without my consent.

Their advice? Screw George. Write Lilah’s story.

The group coordinator brought up a good point and told me that if Lilah is itching to be told, then she needs her own story as soon as possible. This is Lilah’s way of telling me that she needs to be the lead on a story.

We all know that its the characters who write the story, not the author, so when he said this I completely understood and agreed with him.

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Via Pinterest

The problem is… I feel like I’m cheating on George. Of course, he would still be in the story. He would still be the detective. The plot, characters, setting, etc. would be the same. It would just be from Lilah’s point of view.

So, here are my options:

1. Keep editing and revising until George strengthens and grows against his will
2. Rewrite story in third person with George as main character… see if that makes a difference
3. Rewrite story in first person with Lilah leading the way
4. Rewrite story in third person with Lilah in the lead

Four options… doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a lot to take in.

George Florence is the fifth novel I’ve completed, but the first one I’ve ever been truly serious about. It’s hard trying to figure out what’s best for the novel.

The novel is already written has been edited before. The draft I’ve been sending my group is the second draft. I’ll probably keep sending them the next parts of this draft like nothing happened. Maybe George will seem like he improves throughout the story.

In the meantime, I will try to rewrite the first part with Lilah in charge. Depending on how well that turns out, then the novel may get a huge makeover.

It’s especially troublesome because I love George, even though he didn’t come out as planned. I feel bad kicking him to main male instead of main protagonist. But ultimately it comes down to this question: how can I expect to sell a novel with a protagonist no one likes?

What are your thoughts on this: has this ever happened to you? What do you think I should do?

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George And Me

In yesterday’s post, I discussed how every author puts a little bit of themselves (or something from their life) into their novels. For me, there are numerous things I throw into my novels that are inspired by true things in life. I won’t spill all my secrets, so for now I’ll just explain my good friend George Florence.

20150115_170826George, my protagonist, is a 30-year-old laid-off detective trying to make a place for himself in the world while doing what he loves: helping people and fighting crime.

Being a police officer was something I wanted to do when I was very young. Even when I knew I wanted to be a teacher and writer, I still had a spot in my mind that wanted to be a cop. I wanted to be a teacher since I was six-years-old because of my first grade teacher. I wanted to be a writer since I was ten-years-old because of Kris. Where did this cop thing come from? I have no idea.

When I was little I was always fascinated with that sort of thing. I remember I had a spy kit with handcuffs, a decoder, a notepad, and–the best part–rear-view sunglasses. I was always trying to solve “mysteries” around the house. One time, Kris and I eavesdropped on my mom’s phone call because we were looking for “evidence” in our case, “Mom’s Cooking: Real or Take-Out?” I can’t remember how old we were, but I wish I did.

However despite my fascination, I never pursued it for a plethora of reasons. I’m tiny and have no upper body strength, I can’t stand loud noises, I’m squeamish, and I’m not good under pressure. I just don’t think it wouldn’t have worked out. Of course you never know until you try, but I think when I discovered teaching/writing, my heart changed its mind.

I have written a few novels. Most of them are fantasy-ish with the main characters having super powers. A couple of them are cliche high school drama stories. Each one of those manuscripts (five of them total) are still on the first draft. I congratulate myself for completing a novel, but editing them is just not something I have the motivation to do.

20150115_170900Then I created George. He was a silly character started in a yellow notebook a few years ago at Barnes and Noble when I didn’t know what else to write.

I say he was a “silly” character because that’s entirely what he was. He was originally a detective who did well at his job, but had no common sense whatsoever. He was comical. I didn’t expect to go anywhere with it, but I liked the story. I wrote 32 notebook pages before I stopped and moved onto something else.

Who knew that years later George would rise to the surface and be who he is today?

Unlike my other novels, I completed a first draft easily and then had the urge to edit it right away. I want to continue his story. I want to write more books about him. I want to publish them all. Needless to say, I think I have found my genre for writing.

Funny how it turned out to be a secret passion of mine.

It’s also funny because George was inspired by Phoenix Wright, a character from the Ace Attorney video game series. I played those games and wanted to write my own mysteries and decided to revive George as my main man.

Of course… now that I write this post I realize that George wasn’t originally based off of Phoenix Wright. He was based off of me.

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2014

Camp NaNo

 

I have been anticipating this day since the first day of March. I told myself I was going to edit a novel during the month of March and I did! Hunter is in the process of being re-typed as a second draft. So, that’s that.

I wanted to have plenty of time to plan for Camp NaNoWriMo. I knew what novel I wanted to write, but I didn’t have it planned out. I literally finished editing Hunter on March 30. Then I spent all day yesterday (March 31) doing homework. I worked until 2:30 then got the majority of this week’s homework done because I wanted the first week of Camp to be a productive one.

Would you like to know something sad, though? I went into work yesterday and they asked me, “Are you available every day this week and next week?” I said yes because I need the money, but of course it would happen during NaNo…not to mention this month I have my cousin’s birthday, my father’s birthday, Easter, planning for my sister’s upcoming wedding, homework, and now work on top of it. But, it’ll be good to practice my time-managing skills.

Anyway, I’m writing Diary of a Killer for Camp. I’m sure most of you know I have a completed novel called Diary of a Lover. No, this is not a sequel. It’s a complete different set of characters in a different setting. The only similarity is the title because they are both written in “diary” format. Each chapter is a new diary entry. Oh, they have psychology in common, as well. Of course, I know nothing of psychology so a lot of research will be required, so…this will be fun.

I didn’t get a chance to plan it so when I started writing after work today all I had was the title and that was it. I didn’t even have the protagonist’s name…I didn’t even know the gender. In case you’re all wondering, it’s a boy! Yay, congratulations! As I wrote the first chapter, I started coming up with ideas for the novel, so I’m hoping everything will work out. I’m also summarizing each chapter as I write them to help keep the plot in line as well as for when I finally edit it. Hopefully that will do some good when I research things, too.

I will post a summary soon…ish. I have to actually write one first. 😉

For all of you doing NaNo, good luck! And I hope you reached above and beyond the word goal (I got 2,002 words today). If you guys are participating, feel free to add me as a buddy on NaNo (Fiery_Sapphire) and also let me know your word count and what you’re writing. I’m very interested! 🙂

Inspiration Station

“You may not want to be a writer and that’s fine. But by the end of this class, you are going to know exactly what a writer does and all the blood, sweat, and tears that get mixed in with the ink.” –Athena Beech

 

Today was a rough day. Kris was home all day because she’s doing the over-night at her work tonight. I also had to go to work because the other teacher and I have been stripping the classrooms. We finished today, thank God. I can’t stand seeing the classrooms so bare. Anyway, because of those two factors I was not able to start writing early in the morning like I have been and with Kris there all I want to do is play video games with her. She got Sonic: Lost World for the Wii U for Christmas and we just started playing it the other day. It’s a great game and I bother her to play it at any moment I get.

So, I came home from work and said, “Wanna play Sonic?!” Kris said something to me that I regret mentioning to her…you see, the other day I wanted to do absolutely nothing. I had a cup of coffee in hand and all I wanted to do was put my feet up and watch Psych. I have been watching that a lot lately, I don’t know why. But season eight starts tomorrow night!

Even though I wanted to do everything humanly possible that did not involve me writing my 5,000 word count, I repeated to myself: Work first, play later. I told Kris this. So, what do you think she said when I asked her to play Sonic? Yes, “Work first, play later.” Thus, we wrote.

Kris wrote a little and then decided to edit her novel (yay!) while I continued to write in order to hit my 5,000 daily word goal. Since I finished Detective Florence I had to write something else. I looked at my To Do List and looked at all the novels from there. I couldn’t choose which one to write, so Kris put them in a randomizer thing on the internet and it told me to write Hunter & Comet.

Well, I wrote an even 2,000 words for that. However, I wasn’t in the mood to write it so I decided to stop because it was turning out kind of crappy…even for the first draft.

I decided to write Inspiration Station instead. This was a story idea I came up with on a whim one night (pretty recently) when I wasn’t sure what to write. At the time I still wasn’t in the mood to finish Detective Florence, I had no idea what to write so I decided to write about writing. I’m pretty sure I’ve explained this novel before, but I’m going to explain it again…

Inspiration Station is about a writer, Athena Beech, who is not yet published because she’s stuck on her writing. As her day job she starts her first semester teaching a creative writing course at a local community college. She has a class full of interesting students. Some are taking the class because they want to write for a living and others are taking it because they believe it to be an “easy A.” Athena takes this as a challenge and comes up with the “Inspiration Station” which is basically a bunch of writing prompts. She hopes to give inspiration to all her students as well as herself.

So, as you probably figured out, the quote up top is from the main character, the teacher, in the story. She said to her class right as they were being dismissed because most of them aren’t too into the class at the moment.

I’m having fun with it. As a teacher, I think it’s fun to write lesson plans and since I’m not a teacher anymore I don’t write lesson plans anymore. So, yes, I am writing actual lesson plans for Athena’s classes. They’re not fully thought-out, mostly just an outline to help me plan the novel, but it’s a lot of fun. I think some of that stuff would be cool to do in a real classroom.

I wrote 3,358 words for the story. Adding that to the 2,000 I wrote for Hunter & Comet, I have 5,358 for today. This also leaves me at 6,500-something total for Inspiration Station so far. I already had about 3,300-something words already written for the story.

I think Inspiration Station is going to be the next novel I complete. I think it’s going to be a good one. I have high hopes for it, anyway.

Detective Florence (Book One)

Male Protagonist Character Profile…

Detective George Florence is the male protagonist for my novel Detective Florence. This is his character profile for the first installment of the series.

Detective Florence is a 30-year-old man holding a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice. He started off working at the police department from the bottom of the pile and worked his way up to becoming a detective. It was a few years after him tirelessly working case after case that he was laid off from the precinct due to budget cuts from the economy. Now he is running his own freelance private detective agency.

George has a large family consisting of six siblings, a mother, and a father. Each one of his siblings, except one, is in the criminal justice field. He maintains a good relationship with his siblings, although he may not always keep in touch with them. It’s currently unknown about what his parents do for a living or what their personalities are like.

When George worked at the police department, his partner was the late Detective Joseph Williams. Detective Williams trained George in becoming a detective and because the two of them worked so well together, they became partners. Years after Detective Williams passed away, George made an unexpected ally with his daughter, Lilah Williams.

Lilah Williams, a college student majoring in English, becomes George’s new partner at his freelance detective agency. Even though she has no criminal justice background, her writing is great advertisement for the agency and she gives George his first case. She’s great at taking notes while interrogating suspects and has a great mind for figuring out puzzles. Yet, George still sees her as a bit of a nuisance and an annoying “little sister.”

Now that George is running his own detective business, a few of the officers on the police force begin to dislike him. One of them being his former partner who did not get laid off, Detective Xavier Barron. Not only are George and Detective Barron not friends anymore, but they are now rivals. Detective Barron seems to feel threatened by George and uses each case as a new competition to be better than George.

In his first novel, George finds himself starting off small with a simple robbery case in which turns to a murder. Soon he wonders if he got in way over his head, but with the help from his ally and the pressure from his rival, he is in a race to solve the case before the police department does.

In other news, George does not understand how to work modern technology such as computers and cell phones. He also despises caffeinated beverages such as coffee.

Just Keep Writing

An Inch Closer…

 

My class is 10:30-2 today. I have work at 2:30-5/6. And then I’m babysitting 6:30-8:30. I have a very busy day today so I thought that I would get up early and go to school early so that I could get some writing done. Because I am obviously not going to get anything done tonight…that would be silly.

So I have been writing more of Take Over and it is still going pretty well. I wrote for about an hour and half this morning and then I kept making typos and began to go cross-eyed, so I I had to stop. I am now up to 15,765 words and 26 pages. Those numbers are only going to keep getting higher from now on. Although, they always went higher, but whatever.

I got to the good part of my novel. Again, I have to post the summary soon, but as I said in the last post, a group of high school seniors plan to take over the school with the help of a random junior who is in their group. Right? Yes.

Let’s talk about characters: none of them turned out the way I have planned on them being like…

1. Roxana “Roxie” Smith. She is the main character and has a lovely head on her shoulders. She pretty, smart, and plays by the rules. She’s popular in school only because she’s Brad’s girlfriend. Roxie’s parents are…interesting to say the least. Her mother is a stay-at-mom because even though Roxie is old enough to take care of herself, her mom feels as though she would be abandoning her only child. Roxie’s father…he’s insane. And he writes for a living. Enough said. Roxie is dead set against the Take Over.
2. Heath “Brad” Bradley Johnson. Everyone calls him Brad because of his middle name because he hates his first name. Brad is a popular guy and is known by everyone. He is friends with everyone, not because he wants to really be friends, but people people adore him. The Take Over was his idea.
3. Jayden “Jay” Williams & Darren Williams. They’re twins who don’t have a mind of their own. They go along with anything and everything Brad says because he’s the “leader.” Jay is more friendly and takes care of all of his friends while Darren just wants Brad to like him. Both are very into the idea of the Take Over.
4. Bella Jones. Roxie’s best friend. She has a huge crush on Darren and will do anything for him to like her. She’s a dumb blonde (even though she’s a brunette) and her parents are…different. Her mother has a big stick up her butt for reasons unknown to even me. She’s unsure whether she wants to go along with the Take Over or not. She wants to follow Roxie’s lead, but wants Darren to like her.
5. Simon Davis. He’s the junior of the group. Why Brad allowed him to hang out with a bunch of seniors? Again, I haven’t thought that far ahead yet…but Simon is super excited because now he’s the most popular kid of the junior class because he hangs out with Brad Johnson. Simon goes along with Brad on the Take Over, but feels sorry for Roxie and he tries to stay neutral while still technically being on Brad’s side.

There you have it. Six annoying characters in all. Neither of them had the personality I wanted them to have. But it’s working so far, so I’ll play along with them…for now. 😉

 

2013: 30,904/365,000 Words Written
2013: 932/18,250 Pages Read

12 Pages

I Don’t Know How Many Left…I Can’t Do Math….

 

After I posted yesterday I wrote six more pages. Go me! Now, I had already had 40-something pages written when I started this whole challenge. I calculated yesterday that I should be at page 72 if I had actually written three pages a day. Well, today that would mean I should be at page 75 in my novel. I think I’m at page 60-something. I don’t have my flash drive plugged, so I can’t look. And I’m too lazy to plug it in because I have class soon.

As I was writing yesterday, I realized something about my novel. Well, first let me explain what I’m writing: it’s called A Job to Get Done and it’s about a thief who meets a detective and fall in love. Of course, that’s difficult because one is above the law and the other is below. I’ll get more into the details later, it’s too early in the morning right now.

My point being: I realized just how messed up the novel is. I’m on chapter six, page 60-something or other and I feel as though half of the novel is a bunch of pointless scenes. I know where I want the story to go, I know the ending and some of the middle part, but the middle that I don’t know what to do with, is a bunch of random things. Maybe I wrote those scenes for a reason and in the end, I will accidentally tie it in with another scene. But what if I don’t? I feel like just scraping all the recent things I wrote. I won’t…because I am hoping that I tie it in somehow. If I don’t…well, editing is going to be a pain. Which probably means that the novel isn’t going to get edited quickly…or soon, for that matter.

I also noticed that there are a lot of comical points in the novel. I did not intend for that to happen. The main character, Lynx, was supposed to be a tough girl and very serious-like. She’s supposed to do what she’s told. End of story. Yet, she is constantly questioning whether she is doing the right thing and she is very sarcastic. I feel as though she is the complete opposite of what she was supposed to be like. Again, editing is going to be a pain.

One last thing that I noticed…I have seven characters introduced in the novel so far. And so far only one, the protagonist, is female. That is another thing that I did not intend to happen. I should probably throw some more girls in there, huh? Well, I don’t really like girls, so I can see how I managed to not put any in the story. Yet, so far with all my novels, all my main characters have been female. …I just can’t wait for editing time.

There you have it. I’m a dumb writer. I can’t keep anything straight. But hey, at least I’m writing. I will talk more about the novel I’m writing now in later posts. Summaries, excerpts, fails of the novel…not so many wins, probably. I have a two classes today and a two-hour break in between them. So I think I’m going to get some more writing done then. The worst part is that I’m so exhausted, that whatever I write next is probably going to come out like crap. I’m here at school until 2:30 (It’s 8:30) now and then I have to work on my math project when I get home. At least I don’t have work, but…I’m too tired to even type this post. But I’m supposed to be positive, right? Well, here goes nothing:

Today’s gonna be a great day! 😀 *Twitch*