Monday, February 20, 2012

Wanda's world wievs and wamblings, Starbucks do not deliver

So I asked and Melissa M Ringsted answered.  She is an editor and the page owner of http://www.facebook.com/thereforyou.editing.  She is troubled, so it would seem, about the lack of a delivery service from Starbucks.  We in South Africa only recently got a Starbucks, actually two, both in Johannesburg, one at the international airport and the other at a very high class 5Star hotel.  So needless to say, I have never tasted Starbucks.  I might never since, like in the US, these guys don’t deliver.  Or rather I assume they don’t, I meant to phone them but it slipped my mind - not, I am much too stingy to waist a phone call on such a useless exercise.  But it got me thinking about the lack of delivery pertaining to leading roles in books.

I hate flat characters, it really is annoying, reading all about a two dimensional character.  Especially when the said tough character is supposed to be a tough broad within the story.  I have recently come to hate tough broads, why? Because so very few authors know what strength in a woman is, it is not her ability to swear or her ability to through a temper tantrum that is not strength.  Strength is making a decision when you do not know what the result of your decision will be.  That is strength, to live with the consequences of your decision - that is guts.  Having melt downs into the ever available arms of Mr. Perfect when your make up is not perfect, not strength.  Having being asked every three seconds if you're still alright, is not a token of strength.  But I digress we were talking about flat characters.  You know the types; sometimes the author does not even go to the trouble to give them last names!  Now these are necessary, yes, essential when writing a book but when it is your main character and he/is so shallow you can see tomorrow peeking through them.  Stop and rewrite. 
I have thus far come across only two authors who perfected the art of two dimensional character developments.  Guardian's author Gillian Joy and the author of The Spirit Box, JH Glaze. You can find them at http://www.facebook.com/Guardiannovel and at http://www.facebook.com/thespiritboxbook.
In Guardian you meet Gabriel, the boy next door with an irresistible something to him.  At the end of the book Gabriel is pretty much the same as he was on page one.  This baffled me for a few moments, why would Gillian write a character that has almost no growth and then a main character to boot.  Well when the boot, I mean shoe dropped I felt pretty daft.  The answer was right in front of me.  Gabriel started out as being perfectly, perfect.  No way even Gillian could improve on perfection.  I was stunned and in awe, very few authors can pull of such a stunt with so much flair and panache. 
The second really flat character I came across was Walt in The Spirit Box by JH Glaze.  Walt had obsessions and that was about it.  I liked Walt, which was weird because he was not really all that likeable.  But I nonetheless liked him.  But it bugged me that he was so flat.  Then almost near the end of the book a startling revelation is made and the puzzle pieces dropped into place.  I must agree, by now I am sure I am slow on the uptake.  What is worse is that if you do not pay attention to that dialogue in the book, you as reader might very well miss the evil genius that is Mr. Jeff Glaze.  Without giving anything away of the plot of the book, please, if you have not read the book but plan to, remember to pay special attention to the dialogue between Walt and the Box.  It is essential to optimize your reading experience.
So with the exception of these two examples I would ask all authors not to be Starbucks!  Don’t hold all the promise and still fail to deliver.
Thats what I think in any way.  Use it dont use it, but dont hurt animals

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the mention. I think the tough woman character is a balance of feminity and courage. She is not afraid to be soft and empathetic and when challenged to step up and fight with whatever weapons she has at her disposal. Historically women are expected by men to be fragile and helpless, the damsel in distress phenom. But the fragile sex is not opposed, when threatened, to picking up a gun an emptying the clip into a burglar, when her life or the life of her child is on the line. It is best in fantasy to base characters on real life as much as possible. It brings the characters to life more for the reader.

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  2. As always, a great post Wanda! Speaking on behalf of all intelligent readers out there. I thank you!! :D

    Angie Edwards

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