2 Tales – 1 Story

My editor and I are sitting here trying to figure out what to type. Then we started to talk about my story and how I deleted the scenes that showed the antagonist’s side.

My book now focuses on the protagonist’s perspective.  I mentioned in my bio that I would not pick up a book that bounced too many times. Well, I sort of lied. I have read books that had me jumping back and forth.  I appreciate the story and how they changed perspective in order to offer a different viewpoint. However, I realized that this form of writing does not work for me.

Holy Smokes - An Aisling Grey Novel 
Holy Smokes – An Aisling Grey Novel


I try to focus on the main story, and now I usually skip through the scenes that have the antagonist in it, unless the protagonist is also involved. For example, a series I love reading from Katie MacAlister is The Aisling Grey novels. She does a good job of not bouncing back and forth.  I love her stories due to that fact.  The lack of switching perspective in her novels; however, is because her story is written in the first person.  If you look at Nora Roberts’ books, she sticks to the story.  She writes both sides if the story needs them, but if the switch of perspectives would just make a reader frustrated, it gets thrown out.  If you want to see these two kinds of writing, try reading a first person story like Dragons Prefer Blondes, by Candace Havens.  Also try a third person story that just focus on the protagonist, for example Gena Showalter‘s Heart of the Dragon, The Atlantis tale that started it all…  In the Heart of the Dragon, they bounce from the female’s to the male‘s perspective. Then you can compare that to Dark Lover, a novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, by J.R. Ward where she does a beautiful job of bouncing back and forth.  This was one of the books that I didn’t care for, because of the way it switched  to the antagonist’s side.  It didn’t feel right for me to know about the enemy, but the story was not harmed by adding the antagonist‘s view.  In my opinion, it feels like I was cheating on the protagonists, and that didn’t seem fair to me.

We all have our points of view on stories that we read and write, but that is why so many novels exist.  I am not saying one is better then the other,  I just challenge people to think outside the box on everything they do.  I have read each style and like a combination of the them.  If I don’t want to find out the other side of the story, I read the side I want and skip the other.  Then, maybe on a future date, I will read the opposite side.  This is a great way to push your imagination and it will help you understand the characters.  Although, this only works if they bounce back a fourth as you read.

Don’t do it in first person, as that can actually be MORE challenging, don’t you think?

Published in: on February 11, 2010 at 03:36  Leave a Comment  

Story Role-Playing

Role-playing for writing, why would this be so important? There are many forms of role-playing, from games to making a story with your friends. For now let’s just focus on the story role-playing format.

This kind of role-playing is meant to get you through hard situations, especially the communication part in your book. Sometimes you just can’t get the dialogue between characters to sound natural, well with this type of role-playing you can. You usually take characters you want, and have friends that know that character role play against you. You can do this many ways. People often do this online with random people. For example, I do this kind of role-playing on gaiaonline.com. I have, however, seen several people do it when they get together with their friends. Give it a try, and you won’t be sorry.

If you do want to try it out though, here are some simple guidelines.

  1. Do not god mode it. If one person is a god, they do have weaknesses. Everyone has a weakness. You can’t block every attack, or be immune to every spell out there.
  2. Stay in character. In the middle of the story don’t just suddenly say he changed his personality. If you want to do that you need to start on a trail that will lead the character to develop that way.
  3. Record it somehow. If typing, save it somewhere. If you are talking, voice record it.
  4. If doing it vocally, don’t actually act it out, that is another form of role-playing.
  5. Have a spot to jot out of character communication. (Only if you’re writing)
  6. Don’t hold back. Would your character hold back in your novel?

To help you understand this role-playing activity, I have asked my writing group if I could use their’s from gaiaonline.com in my created guild called The Life of All. Your all welcome to come and join and try it out if you so desire.

So here is the scenario in a rough form: The earth dried up to a wasteland, post-apocalypse. Since I created this story I control the environment and evil forces. (That is what I need help with, so I do all the evil plotting to see if it would work in my story.) The characters were created before hand but brought in this story. (They were their own characters, because I didn’t need help with my character development.) So they were walking in this wasteland, when the female needed water and she has power to summon the water from underground to the surface. I wanted the water to explode up under the male character. He hid of course when he heard a female splashing on the other side after being struck in a funny way. The female decided to remove her clothes to take a bath. Well, the water dried up due to the intense heat of the environment and they met with him seeing all of her. (the water drying up was my idea.) They fought and this is from the second time they meet after an epic fight and apologies.

Smiling, Jayden answered. ” My name is Jayden, Jayden Fox. Nice to meet you.”

Req gave Jayden a warm smile. “Jayden Fox, huh? That’s a very nice name. It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Fox.” She moved to give Jayden a bow but Req was stop short as a dry cough racked her frame. “Excuse me,” she said weakly to him as she reached for the canteen on her waist. Removing the cork, she sipped some of the cool liquid and gave a sigh of relief as the water glided down her throat. “That’s better,” she smiled as she offered Jayden the canteen in case he was thirsty as well. “These desert conditions are not the greatest. This hot, bone dry air really does a number on me.” Req paused for a moment before asking, “Mr. Fox, may I inquire as to why you are out here or is that classified information?”

Even though Jayden was more concerned about Req, he answered her question. “Honestly, its what I do. Where I’m from, most of the world is like this, so it doesn’t really bother me. I know this is kind of strange, when we barely know each, but are you alright?”

A blush spread across Req’s cheeks but she didn’t say anything as she took another sip of water before she replaced the stopper back on her canteen and tied it back around her waist. Wow…Someone actually asked me if I’m ok…I don’t think that has ever happened to me before…

With the blush still coloring her face a soft pink, she offered Jayden a warm smile. “I’m fine, thank you for asking. I guess I’m not as adjusted to this environment as you are.” Her gaze drifted off over the sea of sand as she said, “I come from a cooler region that was full of dense forests. Trees, bushes, babbling water splashing in a stream that was full of fish. Animals abound but they were nothing like the creatures I’ve encountered out here.”

Req gave a quiet sigh before she returned her gaze to Jayden. “I guess I miss home. I’m not afraid to admit it. That is one of the reasons why I’m out here. I’m searching for the reason for the desert conditions and all this sand.”

Understanding exactly what she meant, Jayden looked off in to the distance. ” I miss my home too, but I know I can never return.” His right hand went to the pocket of his jeans, and closed around a small object. ” I cant go back, until I finish what I started.” Looking at Req, he saw that she was blushing slightly. Looking away as he started blushing himself, he thought of something to say. ” So uh…what do we do now?”

So as you can see this turned out to be a way for the characters to have great introductions. I am using something like this now as a way for my main characters meet. One last thing though, if you do want to use people’s role-playing ideas or writing, ask them and usually they will say it is fine. If they say no, just figure a way to twist it enough to make it your own. Mine is easy to twist due to being a different era.

Good luck and have fun with this idea. Also, how do you get through that tough communication problem, do you role-play, or something else? Would you even think about this kind of role-playing? Do you have any questions or comments? We do want to hear from you.

PS – Another fun part of using role-play you get a rough draft that you can go back and polish up – it gets you moving in the right direction!

Published in: on February 5, 2010 at 03:37  Leave a Comment