Thursday, February 25, 2010

Toxic Waste

Toxic people drain me and sometimes color the way I feel about myself, so I don't usually write them into my stories. Sure there are villains (antagonists), but I leave them in the background - in the shadows. The focus (think movie camera) is set for the close shots of the good guys, the people like us. These are people who play by the rules, not realizing that only people like them [who need no rules] are the ones who do.

I don't like reading books or watching movies with vile people in them. They disturb my spirit, my thought process, and erode the goodness I usually see. However, I'm thinking about making major changes to Act Like You Mean It, which is a derailed love story, and making the negative personality traits bigger and more obnoxious.

I don't have time to write right now with all these [good] transitions in my life, and maybe I will change my mind about ACT (writers give nick-names to their WIPs). I do feel it coming though, I feel the urge to write more boldly, perhaps more commercially. I feel the stretch coming, the stretch to step out of my comfort zone and write something unlike how I write.

The danger in that, of course, is it could alienate my fans to write so different from what they have come to expect after three novels. On the other hand, it might attract new readers who would only like that one book. I'll have to give this some thought. Storm Surge is definitely a bridge to somewhere.

Maybe it is time to move from writing the 'everyman' protagonist. Maybe it is time to trust my readers to trust me.

Now I've gone off thinking rather than concentrating on this post. Perhaps Raven's Song would be a better ms for this experiment. Well, that's it. I have to hurry and finish this moving project so I have time to write before I begin my new job. But did I mention, I have to become fluent in Spanish for this job. Que what?

Just to give you something to comment on, what would be a radical change in your writing style?


  1. I have never written a book so my comments may be out of place but, personally, I would write what I think is right for the story. I think fans should understand that we create the characters, they are not us so it is OK to have obnoxious characters in your story.

  2. Hola! How brave you are.
    Fascinating post. Go for it Nadine, I would love to see what else you can pull out for me to read. You are evolving, the move and new challenges in your life have triggered that.
    Your comment on my 15 mins story, showed me that I could do something different if I wanted.
    I think my POV, Kitty has a little of the humble side of me, my weak, simple side. I need her to find her strong side as it is letting the story down a little, I am sure.

  3. I say go for it, too! Get the toxic people out of your life and write about them in your next book!!

    Along the same lines, I read somewhere a few years ago to: "Keep the drama on the page." This is how I try to live my life.

  4. Good comments. Thank you, everyone.

  5. I think I see another side to toxic characters. yes, they are difficult to deal with because they make us feel bad and as writers we tend to get into our characters' heads and sometimes that may not be pleasant. But I also see toxic characters as cathartic. I always have at least one [sometimes more] that I manipulate and gain power over and it becomes very empowering for me. And it helps me gain perspective and insight.

  6. Unfortunately toxic people are part of our lives, so they are going to exist in literature too.

  7. Hello, Carrie!

    You're right. What was I thinking - ignoring they exist by not writing them. However, in a way, I'd say Joseph was that in a slight way, at least for Kathryn.