Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Fall Guy aka Underdog.

Ever wonder whether you're the fall guy, the underdog? I think we all do to a certain extent.
Are you the one that worked unimaginable hours at school to just pass where others sailed through and became dux / valedictorian?
Are you the one who, wasn’t a champion sports star but a team player and even then spent time on the bench?
Are you the one that couldn’t date because you had to work to keep food / roof over your head, while others lived the high life without a worry?
Are you the person that picked up the pieces and kept on going even when the 'flash in the pan' dropped the (insert appropriate word here) like the proverbial hot potato, leaving you with egg on your face? (See I can add more than one cliché in a sentence - HA)
That underdog moment is what builds character in a person.
This is also what makes for a great character in a novel.
Now channel that experience into your characters. Dredge up that pain, the tears, the anger and let it all go. Release it into your heroine or hero.
We, as writers and readers love the underdog character. We sympathize with their lot in life. We cheer their successes. We cry at the seemingly unbeatable odds. And, when they finally win through, we punch the air - our hearts full.
Think of Cinderella - she was the underdog. How sad was her life after her father died. Scrubbing floors for the wicked step-cow and the three heinous bitches. But when she went to that ball - we all sighed and wished that was us in that pretty dress and glass slippers, dancing with that studley guy.
Remember how sad you felt when she went back to the drudgery of her life?
The heart stopping moment when we weren't sure she was going to be tested with that shoe.
And then the instant when she put that slipper on.
We want that - will she, won’t she or will he, won’t he moment.
So – if you’ve felt like the fall woman / underdog stand up shout, ‘I’m an underdog and damn proud of it!’
Fall Princesses and Under Queens of the world unite!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Voice - you've got it!

Had an interesting conversation with fellow writer Elijana Kindel today about voice. She's got it, I want it back. What prompted this discussion was that I am doing a fantastic critique course at Savvy Authors with the insightful Teresa Bodwell.
How do you recognize voice and how do you protect it once you've found your voice?
That can be tough. Some writers have a writing voice that projects loud and clear with tonal qualities that are uniquely their own. Others get lost in the wilderness, lost in a swirling maelstrom, victims of our own insecurities.
Once you've found it, cling on to that sucker, like a junk yard dog over a bone. Stay true to yourself, but be willing to listen, think and learn.
I think voice can change depending on what genre you're writing at the time.
I'm feeling empowered.