Monday, February 28, 2011

Writing Update: Flawed Characters

I’ve been working on a longer fiction piece. I’m really trying to accept, and let, my characters be flawed. When it comes time to create a world the temptation is to make people perfect, to let them see the disaster ahead and allow them to divert it. Not only is that not exciting, but there’s nothing to really gain from reading a story of the nature. And even the perfect people on record in history didn’t avoid their untimely ends.

Working on a longer fiction piece is a humbling experience, and I’ve been reading like a madman to garner examples of people who do it well, but also make it enjoyable. I just finished Chuck Hogan’s Devils in Exile. His book Prince of Thieves was recently made into the movie "The Town" by Ben Afleck. I enjoyed the film. I found the characters captivating, and who doesn’t enjoy a good heist narrative. Hogan’s book is flawed, but it’s a page turner and it has guts to display itself honestly warts and all. What drives the narrative is the main character Neil Maven. We’re drawn to him; we care about him, though we really couldn’t say why. He just feels true.

It’s evident that Hogan had a fun time writing it. He’s working on a project with Guillermo Del Toro. It’s a vampire trilogy with their spin on the genre. There’s something to for just writing what you enjoy.

I was talking to my friend Michael S. I lamented that I felt I should be writing something closer to Wes Anderson scripts, or Noah Bombach movie. He told me he thought about that as well. The need to write something of literary stature, but he said with as mile, “I really just want to write something like ‘Kill Bill’.” Not that ‘Kill Bill’ is the exemplary of all literature, but the underlying point is to have a piece of writing that you’re happy with. A piece that has that comic book cool factor that makes you feel like your back in your pajamas in front of the television on a Saturday morning.

I’m on to Phillip K. Dick’s Ubik and I love it. The books I’m searching for, and am reading, are by authors that just pursued their vision. They let their works be as weird as the wanted, and didn’t stop to consider if their ideas were stupid or worthwhile: they just created. I’m attempting to follow that model.

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