Likability in heroines

Likability in heroines

When I read, I try to sympathize with the main character as much as I can, as long as they’re not a brat, stuck up, or not self-aware. If the character is like this, I love when there’s character development but if there isn’t, I can’t say I’m a fan.

There are some books where I’ll understand where the heroine is coming from, understand the thought process, the stress and anxiety that would play into her making a certain decision, no matter how stupid it is, but there are other times where I kind of wish she just used her brain.
For example, in a recent book I read, “Passion & Venom”, the heroine was kidnapped and held in the basement. Down there, she is with another prisoner and at one point, she expresses her need to pee but the bathroom door is locked. He advises her to just piss in the corner but instead, she called down one of the mafia members and proceeds to ask if they could open the door for her. *Spoiler* he doesn’t unlock the door and does something worse.

Shouldn’t she be trying her best to stay out of their way and not attract any attention to her? These are the same men who killed her husband after all. Throughout the books, there’s little character development.

She is, in fact, a very strong female lead but it just comes off as…snobby.
And oh my goodness, don’t get me started on suddenly forgiving the completely horrible hero who is such a shitty person all around but suddenly, his backstory is revealed for sympathy point and all his previous actions are forgiven because, boohoo, he has such a bad past. That does not give anyone a pass to be a horrible person, especially if they refused to change. In Passion & Venom, it’s to be expected as he is a mob leader and while we weren’t exposed to his back story in book one, it was hinted at and I know it will be revealed in book 2 but I can’t be bothered to find out because I know he’s going to continue to be a shitty person and the heroine is going to fall in love. Bonus, he’ll continue to be a horrible person to everyone but her. Go figure.

But there have been books where I understood where the heroine was coming from and despite the stupid mistakes, they were understandable. The character themselves were likable too but after I’ve finished and gone onto Goodreads to see what other fellow readers had to say, only to be disappointed in what I read. Some readers absolutely despised the heroine but the funny part is, they would love the hero (who’s an absolute jerk, mind you).

A mild example I can give is ‘The Stand-In’ by Lauren Campbell. I loved this book with all my heart and soul. I couldn’t stop reading, recommended it to everyone I know, and had a good laugh while reading it. When I opened Goodreads, expecting that there couldn’t possibly be people who didn’t like it, I was disappointing. Of course, in my moment of excitement for this book, I forgot that not everyone has the same opinion as me. The heroine was great; she was funny, a little crazy, made questionable choices, and even had me frustrated a few times but I did try to see where she came from. After all, what would a book be if the hero/heroine was perfect? There were a few comments I read that say they found her to be self-absorbed and selfish (understandably) but I never considered that perspective until I read that review.

I consider this a mild example because I’ve seen way worse on other books that I can’t remember at the moment.

Is there a book you’ve read where you’ve found yourself criticizing the heroine a little too harshly and giving the hero one too many passes?

You Found Out There’s a Book Similar to the One You’re Writing. Now What? | Writing Advice

You Found Out There’s a Book Similar to the One You’re Writing. Now What? | Writing Advice

Do you know what the most frustrating thing about writing a book? Spending hours putting together characters, an outline, writing several pages, only to find out that there’s a book out there similar to yours.

When i found out, i wanted to chuck my whole story out the window and return back to calculating university loans, which seems a lot more fun than dealing with the reality of sharing the spotlight of your book with another book similar to yours. Major problem: that book is already published while i’ve had my idea in mind for a few years and just recently decided to tackle it.

I forced myself to weigh the pros and cons of continuing with my book and decided whether it truly is something i want to publish. After all, i would just end up looking like a copy cat but let me present to you the following evidence:

The Lion King was stolen.

Romeo and Juliet have been recreated over and over again, in terms of books and movies.

Stephen King’s book ‘Under the Dome’ is similar to ‘The Simpson’s Movie.’ He said he never would have published it if he knew about the movie before hand but it brought him great success.

My point is, despite the similar plots, people will read and re-read it over again and then search for something similar because they love it that much and more. I hate to break it to you, i really do, but the odds that you’ll come up with something completely original and new is…well, the odds are slim.

You didn’t copy it word for word, nor did you have the same names and destination and conflicts. Readers will be more engaged in how you tell the story and your goal is to tell it to the best of your ability.

It will hurt when someone asks if it was a spin off of said book but you’ll just have to suck it up because at the end of the day, you worked on that book and you tried to make it as original as you could.

What you’re not going to do is stop writing. You have a unique way of writing that is different from the author that wrote the book you found similar to yours.

The plot may be similar but its not the same and everything else is unique in it’s own way.

**Also, you’ll get over it eventually. I wrote this post a while ago and forgot about it until now. During the time, that other book had been front and center for a few days, maybe even weeks but now, I hardly think about it. You’ll do okay.

What To Do When You’re Overwhelmed While Editing| Writers Advice

What To Do When You’re Overwhelmed While Editing| Writers Advice

My god, where do I start?

I’m minding my own business, writing my novel, and living my best life. Then it comes time to sending it to my beta.

So, I finish my fourth draft, did a little more editing and hand the whole manuscript to my beta reader. She takes her time reading it, picking out every small detail before she gives a detailed analysis on what i need to fix. It was great feedback but now, I’m dejected.

Here I was, thinking i did my absolute best and there will only be minimal things to go back and fix. Instead, I get a four page feedback telling me what could be improved (as it should be). Now, I’m not saying i’m cocky and know i have the best work out there but after going back endlessly and fixing every mistake i could spot, I really thought I had it on lock. Turns out I didn’t.

As someone who used to open Word and work on my novel for hours on end, filled with excitement and ready to write the next scene and sharpen it up, I was now demotivated and lost.

I refused to open Word for several days straight and when I did open it, I would blankly stare at chapter 1, page 1 before switching to something else. I didn’t know where to start. I had no clue what to do. I’d rather pull my hair out, one by one, before i started editing and revising for the fifth time.

I was so overwhelmed with the feedback my beta reader gave me that I so desperately needed but now that I had it, i didn’t know what to do with it.

I finally started working on draft five. (My god, do the drafts ever stop?)

Where did I start?

Well, I started at the beginning but I didn’t go through picking out the nitty gritty, trying to fix up every conversation and every line. That’s the thing that demotivated me from the start so I decided to start with the big picture.

With each large, important scene, I went in and dumped in paragraphs of information that was missing, knowing I was going to come back and re-edit it but for now, i just needed to get it out. I described feelings using the five sense (but sparingly) rather than letting the page sit cold and hollow. If she was sad, I dimmed the humor that I was used to writing to set the tone. Piece by piece, scene by scene, I’m making progress and fixing the details i overlooked.

For example, in once scene, she and Cupid go her families house for dinner. At the end of the chapter, i mention how he won over her family but realistically, all we really saw was the main character (Sophia) arguing with her sister, being timid with her father, and loving with her grandma. There was hardly much of Cupid winning over her family. When my beta reader mentioned this, I went to that scene and fixed it up in the best way I could. That’s what i loved doing anyways; writing creative scenes. I just hate editing.

Once that’s out of the way, I can go chapter by chapter and start to polish it (hopefully for the second last time. Draft 7 has to be the charm).

When you’re overwhelmed, start with what you know best. I knew that chapter by chapter wasn’t going to cut it so I went through the scenes that needed to be fixed and did just that. Slowly work your way down to what you dreaded because by the time you get there, you’ll have untangled the mess and you won’t be dreading it as much anymore.

Disclaimer: I am speaking from personal experience (as I’m sure you can tell) and sharing the advice that helped me. As we all know, we are unique individuals and what works for me, may not work for you but hopefully this helped!

I’d love to hear what you do when your overwhelmed. This is the strategy i use for when I’m writing my novel but God knows i have no strategy when I’m writing essays.

Thanks for reading!

Overwriting vs Underwriting | Writing Struggles

Overwriting vs Underwriting | Writing Struggles

At least when you overwrite, you can go back and delete the unnecessary.

I recently got told that I tend to underwrite scenes in my story, which threw me in a loop. They say that I summarize the chapters and the readers won’t be able to feel submerged into the reading unless i add more details and I could not comprehend this information.

All this time, I’ve been reading online about not writing too much details because it gets boring and I took that to the next level. I just cover the surface when my characters are going through something, which doesn’t allow the readers to really get it. It just seems like their watching two characters from a third person point of view rather than actually feeling it. Do you get what i mean?

So now, i’m putting off writing my fifth draft until I can get my emotions under control and prepare myself to go in and change up nearly all the chapters to add more feel too it. It’s dreadful and exhausting but it must be done.

At least when you overwrite, you’re able to go back and delete what you feel may be dragging the conversation or chapter on but when you underwrite, you have to go back in and actually rewrite and add in details, which takes a lot longer than highlighting and backspacing.

I’m still writing to find middle ground so i don’t bore the readers half to death while also making sure they can feel the scene and understand to their cores how my character is feeling, even if it isn’t the best thing.

How do you overcome this? Because i’m going to need a lot of advice to get through this next round of editing.

Writers Bloooooock | Writing Advice

Writers Bloooooock | Writing Advice

Having writer’s block is one of the most effective ways to make me close Word and resume wasting time on Instagram.

I don’t know if it’s just me but when I have writer’s block, I can’t focus on anything just what the next scene will be. I’ve heard a helpful tip on how to combat writer’s block, which is something along the lines of deleting the last ten or so lines because that just may be the problem.

Did I listen? Not in the least.

No, instead, I spent hours just thinking about what the next scene will be and how it can play out. I tried to conger up solutions and problems and words and flipped through the dictionary.

Did I solve the problem? Yeah. It just took a lot of brainpower.

Do I recommend this? I mean, if it works, it works, right?

There are better solutions on how to overcome writer’s block, such as just stepping back from your book and giving yourself a breath of fresh air.

Under no circumstance does that mean abandon your work for months on ends. Even if you have nothing to write…free write. As long as you write, ideas are bound to emerge from the dark corners of your brain and use them to your advantage.

You’re a creative writer after all and no one will have faith in you if you don’t have it in yourself.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

KILL IT! | Writing Advice

KILL IT! | Writing Advice

My sincere apology. I hadn’t meant to be so violent.

In reference to ‘kill your darling,’ i bring good news.

You mustn’t kill them but rather, copy and paste into a file with the rest of a bunch of deleted scenes that you can use in another book.

By the way, ‘kill your darling’ does not mean kill a character. It means delete unnecessary words and scenes and actions that have nothing to do with the plot or current problem at hand. It’s hard, trust me I know, but it’s worth it.

That’s a lie. I don’t personally know if it’s worth it but I’ve heard it’s true. It’s like I’m physically unable to bring myself to delete my work of art. Don’t worry. I’ll get around to it after my beta reader forces me to.