First draft update and complicated heroes

imageI swallowed my pride and let my sister take a look at the first draft of my first novel.  Out of the two novels that I’ve “finished” a first draft for, I really believe this is the weaker of the two.  Although to be fair, I shoved it in the top drawer of my writing desk shortly after the first draft was printed (over a year ago) and haven’t looked at it since.

Anyway, the good news is that apparently it isn’t as bad as I remember – and she liked it!  YAY!  But, there is still a lot of work to do – most importantly, I have to work on my hero….

Yes, I made a big gamble and for my first book, I created a complicated hero.  <sigh>  And what is a “complicated hero?” Well….in this case, he’s a bit of a dick in the beginning of novel and let’s just say his reasons for hanging around with my lovely heroine are multifaceted.

UGH. Why didn’t I try to write my first novel with a nice and uncomplicated man as the hero? WHY??  Probably because I love characters that aren’t just pure good or pure evil and also because I thought it really worked with the story.

Anyway, first order of business for my re-read and edits?  Tweaking the hero and adding a bit of backstory earlier – essentially sowing seeds fairly early on that show the reader that this guy is worthy of his hero position in my novel.

So, writers, bloggers, and readers – do you like your heroes/heroines with complications?  Do you struggle with showing the softer side with a complicated character? 

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20 thoughts on “First draft update and complicated heroes”

  1. Uncomplicated is boring. I always make my characters multifaceted and complex and give them quirks and ticks. It’s what I think makes my novel so engaging. You’re rooting for my characters but then all their issues keep driving them to screw up and it ticks you off as a reader. It’s a lot harder to write, but it leads to a better story 🙂

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    1. Agreed!! I enjoy the story so much more when characters are more human and imperfect. And you’re right, it does make writing a little more complicated. But hey, no one is a writer because it’s easy…it’s the hard that makes it worthwhile. 🙂

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      1. Exactly! OMG writing is impossible….. When you really think about all that goes into it, from plotting to acts to characters and setting and pacing, then to things like grammar and spelling and mechanics, then formatting and lay out. Then a title, God titles are so hard! How do you pick something that encapsulates an entire novel in a few words? Makes you wonder why we do it lol. Insanity?

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      2. ohh I know – titles are a giant pain in the butt. And I haven’t even begun to think about cover art – so important! How do you deal with that? There are just a ton of little things to deal with as a writer, no wonder we’re all so sensitive. :p

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      3. I know. And then there’s the self or traditional publishing route to consider as well. So complicated…maybe it gets less crazy after you’ve published your first? At least that’s what I’m hoping.

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  2. No one is ever really all good or all bad. So, why not heroes/heroines? Anyway, I agree with you. Characters who are more human (and therefore imperfect) are so much more fun to read. Good luck with the editing!

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  3. First of all yay for finishing a novel! Secondly I appreciate complicated characters especially ones that have some sort of demon to battle before realizing their own worthiness and so proving to us the reader that they are indeed worthy of hero status and our heroine’s attention. Looking forward to reading it one day.

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    1. Oh, thanks!! And I agree – I like it when heroes and heroines have to struggle against themselves (within reason). Those stories generally let you into the character’s mind a little more.

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  4. First of all, Congratulations on pulling the first novel back out of the drawer!! 😀 In answer to your question, for the types of books I write, there is domestic violence a lot of the time. So in those, I have the girl be pretty innocuous, and I have the guy, although he is the abuser, have a lot of redeeming qualities so that the reader gets a love-hate relationship with him and can see why the woman stays. A couple of mine, however, are about two girls (twin sisters in one, arch enemies in the other) and the good one has some minor character flaws to keep it real and the bad one has some good qualities so that the reader can see why she has friends, boyfriends or whatever. So, the short answer is YES, sometimes I struggle with making the pros and cons of a character. 🙂

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    1. Thanks. 🙂 I’m glad that I’m not the only one that struggles to make complex or interesting characters. Ugh I do hate editing though. Creating the story seems to be more fun – dreaming about what might come next instead of working my way through brambles and overgrowth to shape the story into something better.

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