Thursday, March 30, 2006

Stupid Heros, Stupid Heroines

Having a clever, intelligent partner can be so annoying.

Sometimes, like with this novel, when I'm writing without a proposal/outline I get stuck. Usually, what is required is dinner out with my above mentioned sweetie and a couple of glasses of wine. I find that talking my plot out loud can really point out its flaws. It's like the advice a lot of novice writers get about reading their dialogue out loud to "hear" how it sounds on the page. When I start going through my, "And then she, and then she...." I can sometimes notice the gaps in my thinking. Especially when I get to the part last night where I said, "And, only I don't know how to get them out of this one! What would you do?"

Of course, like every ego-sensitive writer, *I* would like to be the one pointing to the flaws, but, whatever. Even when I'm cranky about hearing it, I trust my partner's plot sense. (She reads a LOT more than I do.) Unfortunately, last night's discussion is going to put me back about twenty pages. I hate that.

Still right is right. It's got to be fixed.

Part of it has to do with the fact that I know that, as a reader myself, I absolutely hate it when things don't make sense simply because an author wasn't willing to tell a truth that's inconvenient to her plot. You know what I'm talking about. The heroine is being chased by the cops, but somehow, when she gets back to her apartment, they're not there waiting there for her. She has time to take a nap, read a book, and talk to six people before there's a knock on the door. Okay, so that's exactly what _I_ just wrote, and so you can see the problem. It's just not true to life. At the very least, my heroine has to be cautious when heading home or the whole thing just starts to look a little too convenient or she seems a little too stupid, you know?

Stupid heros/heroines are the number one reason I get turned off as a reader. (Of course, that's provided I picked up the book in the first place.) I really like to be able to understand-–if not directly relate to--the choices the main character makes. Preferable is the heroine who is cleverer than I am. I like reading stuff that makes me say, "Oh, THAT was smart! I'll have to remember that the next time I'm being chased across a desert by a wombat!" Which is probably why when I stray from SF/F, I tend to read mysteries. People who can solve murder mysteries are usually much smarter than I am.

So, if I disappear for a few days it's because I'm in a revision quagmire.

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