Last week I gave myself — and my brain mostly — a week off of writing. Well, for the most part. After five days off, I got back to work on Saturday.
One of the items on my to-do list was to begin reading through a first-draft manuscript that has been sitting in the “I need a little distance from this” drawer.
I very quickly remembered what I loved about this story while I was writing it.
My hero is very jaded. He’s defensive, and while seeming big and bold in some places, for the most part he feels genuine.
Reading through some of these pages I wrote more than a year ago, and seeing the large emotions, I was realized how fine the line is between a 3-D character and a larger-than-life caricature — You know, those drawing that distort reality, in a usually humorous way.
While a caricature can emphasize a characters flaws, or put a big focus on one certain aspect of a person, when writing characters, my biggest concern is that the reader can relate to them. That there is something about the hero or heroine that reminds them of looking in the mirror. I want readers to identify with the characters actions. I don’t want the stars of my story to act in a way that feels too unexpected or disingenuous.
So, as I work through my next draft of the story — as I do with all of my manuscripts — I will be taking the emphasis off the rough angles, and shrinking the over-exaggerated “chin.”
The goal: to make my hero an identifiable character and not a caricature.