Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “character development”

Why I Give a Crap About Katniss Everdeen by Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Fancee coffee described as “fruity, jammy and bright.”

By Julie

Most of my life I’ve been pretentious enough to assume that if everyone likes it, it can’t be good, resulting in me becoming obsessed with stuff waaaaaaaaay after everyone else. So when it came to THE HUNGER GAMES novels, and me becoming a superfan a million years too late, the odds were ever in my favor.

Get it?

But more about me.

You guys might know I write books, and currently the only ones you’ve had access to are RUNNING HOME and RUNNING AWAY. Readers really seem to connect to Eliza, though she’s not someone I would even call particularly likeable. Yet, I’d go so far as to say the series has somewhat of a cult following due in large part to her.

My books you haven’t read? Yeah, the female characters are even less likeable probably.

So I am OBSESSED with Katniss Everdeen.

The things Katniss is not:

  • funny
  • quirky
  • pleasant or even friendly
  • sweet
  • romantic
  • fearless
  • occasionally foolish

katniss 4

Things Katniss Everdeen is:

  • brave
  • kind
  • unapologetic
  • resourceful
  • a self-taught survivor

She’s one of the downtrodden, she feels like one of the downtrodden and for the longest time doesn’t think it’s worth fighting against. She’s not just inherently amazing. She made herself a survivor out of necessity and practicality. And here’s this:

KATNISS ISN’T DIFFERENT.

She’s not the exception to the rule. She’s not DIVERGENT. (I’m not bashing those books, I like them very much and to see the value in one is not to discredit the other.) Katniss isn’t a born hero. She’s a product of her environment that rises every so slightly above it due to her love of her sister and her selflessness (though she would say she is selfish and most certainly is sometimes). Then she makes choice after choice and becomes the person that anyone in District 12 could have been.

That’s the beauty of her to me. She was the face of a revolution but she was “nobody.” She is the hero anyone could become–reachable. Given the same tools, but used them differently. She is someone to aspire to be and the possibility of being like her is actually realistic.

katniss 1

Here’s where I ramble a bit. I chose that image of the quote over this one:

katniss

Because as lovely as it is, it implies she’s this unwavering ray of sunshine. She’s anything but. Katniss is uber-serious, calculating when necessary, a stumbling survivor learning to cope at other times. This is what her world has made her into. She wouldn’t be realistic otherwise, like the slightly oblivious Delly. Katniss uses what the world has made her into as best she can and creates the best future she can with it. A product of an oppressive society that still manages to build her own life out of it.

She makes you think, “I want to be that person.” And “I could be that person. She’s not so different from me, really.”

Not to mention that she will sacrifice her own life even if she’s not entirely sure why. She knows what’s right, even if she doesn’t know the reasons for it, and she’s not afraid to say that she’s too weak to live with the idea of destroying someone that way. Despite that she has killed in the Games. Her choices aren’t black and white and can be self-serving, regardless of whether or not it’s the right thing to do.

She’s this emotionally closed:

katniss 2

But would do this for the same boy by choice:

hunger games

(That’s the part with the berries, guys.)

I could go on and on, but I have an imperfect character to write.

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Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction, So I Use It As Inspiration

Today’s Brew:  Raspberry Chocolate Truffle

by Kristen

Nothing we write about is original. We just have to put an original spin on it.  This includes our characters.  If we’re writing about people, not aliens from another planet, we need to pull from human characteristics.  The best way to do that is experience, observation, and good ol’ people watching.

In Night Moves, I based all my characters on people I knew.  I might have combined characteristics of more than one person into a character, but it’s pretty close to the truth.  This is true for the rock stars and the fetish model.  When I brought this up in my Lydia’s Literary Lowdown interview, someone said they wouldn’t want to find out they were someone else’s “fiction.”

This took me by surprise.

How many times, as writers, have people asked you to put them in the next book?  And as we all know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

People want to read real characters.  I’ve lived an odd life, and I am very open minded.  I figure the best way to make my characters as three dimensional as possible is to draw from the people I’ve met throughout my life.  I’m very equal opportunity with my characters.  I don’t judge them for what they do.  If they’re bitches or assholes, it is independent of their occupation.

If you’re wondering which character caused the controversy, it was Erin, my fetish model.  Erin is strong and confident about what she does.  I enjoyed writing her tremendously.  I’ve mentioned Erin to my friends who are fetish models, and they loved the idea.  I pulled all of her exploits directly from what they do.

What in the hell was that about? Trixie Temptation?” I practically shrieked.

Shh!” Now it was Erin’s turn to look annoyed. “That’s my stage name.”

Keep talking.”

I’m a traveling model.” Erin explained, looking a little nervous in her reveal. “It’s really the only way I can support myself while I’m out on the road.”

What kind of model?” Erin was just a little bit of a thing with a nose piercing, a pink streak in her hair, and several tattoos. Pretty, definitely, but not in an America’s Next Top Model sort of way.

I do fetish shoots. Artistic Nudes. That sort of stuff.” She said casually. She had a way of dismissing anything anyone else would consider a bombshell.

Erin! That sounds like porn!” I had to put all my energy into keeping my voice down. It was hard. This was just too much.

It’s not! Nobody is putting anything in me. I call the shots, and I know my limits. I probably make more money than you do. I didn’t expect you to judge me, Mel.”

Now I felt bad. “I’m not, it’s just I hate to think of you selling your body so you can support your Drake habit. I mean, this guy’s got more money than God, you’d think he wouldn’t want you doing that.”

It was his idea.” Erin said quietly as she finished off her third cup of coffee. “And face it, Melanie, we’re all selling ourselves in some way.”

–Melanie and Erin in Night Moves

New Beginnings

Today’s Brew:  Blueberry and French Vanilla.  Why stray from the best? As a side note, I think Julie is rolling around naked in coffee grinds today.  The Undead Duo is nothing if not classy.

by Kristen

I’ve started a new manuscript.  It’s weird.  For the last two years, I’ve been full speed ahead on Immortal Dilemma.  I’ve seen those characters lives through their eyes, I’ve known what they’d say and do in every situation (even though they still managed to surprise me, even at the very end.).  They’ve become my children.  Right before my vacation, I passed in my latest round of edits to my agent.  They were pretty radical.  I took a little break from writing while I geared up for my vacation and of course while I was away.  I didn’t jump right back in when I came home, either.  A terrorist on the loose  in the state tends to be a little distracting.

Who are these new people?  Their story presented itself to me a couple weeks ago, but I’ve only been able to dive in these last couple of days.  When I started Immortal Dilemma, I had done quite a bit of pre-planning.  It had been a long time since I’d written anything, so I approached it from the way I’d become familiar with: story boards and character studies a la film.  Now that I write all the time, I just dove into this new thing. Yeah, that’s actually what the file is titled on my computer.  This New Thing.  I didn’t bother with character profiles or world building or research.  Just jumped in, head first.  Over the weekend, I’ve probably got down about four thousand words.  But now I feel like I did when I took snowboarding lessons.  How do I control this thing?  Someone give me the instructions!  I’m going to go back and do a little more investigation into why I need to tell these character’s story.  They’re going to be on tour, I can tell you that much, so my world will consist of cheap hotels and tour buses.   I haven’t even totally settled on my MC’s name.  If you have any cool, classic, but not crazy girl names for someone in their mid 20’s, let me know!  (Twitter boys, be nice.  You already razzed my male MC.)

I read a lot while I was on vacation.  I usually can devour a book a flight, and then need something to bury my nose in while I’m out of my element.  My favorite two that I completed this week were the Johnny Cash autobiography, Cash, and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s new paperback release, Time Untime.  If you’re not familiar with Kenyon’s work (I just started reading her stuff), she is influenced heavily by Greek mythology.  Regrettably, my working knowledge of ancient mythology and the classics is piss poor. Upon coming home from the Worcester Art Museum, I asked Julie if she knew their were Indian mythological gods.  Of course she did, she studied classics in that thing called college that I hardly bothered with.  For financial and scheduling reasons, finishing my degree is impractical at this stage of the game.  But I found a way to fill my brain with things I think I might find interesting.

There are tons of free college level courses you can check out online.  Did you see that free word I put in there?  There are two great resources, coursera which offers a variety of courses from all over the world, and MIT Open CourseWare, which is pretty self explanatory.  Even if I had all the time and money in the world, this girl is never getting accepted to MIT.  So how cool is that?  I signed up for Greek and Roman mythology through the University of Pennsylvania.  I’m pretty stoked about it.  I’ve also found a class that breaks down literary relationships that is running this summer, taught by a Brown professor.   Check it out.  You never know what you’ll find!

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