Thursday, January 29, 2009

So what's the technical term for killing someone imaginary?

There's this girl I know that I might have made up and put in my book that I wrote. And this girl is a pretty cool cat as things go. She's got it all together except for the part about where she's emotionally stunted from a bad break up after high school. But everything else she's got together. She's funny and smart, successful, and can dress herself with a fair amount of style.

But apparently, she's not relateable. And apparently (to everyone but me), the solution to this is to put a little egg on her face. You know, have her trip on a banana peel and split her pants in front of her love interest or something. I don't know. I mean, I guess that's what I was supposed to do with her. The thing is, she's a pretty controlled person and goes kinda far out of her way to make sure those things don't happen to her. Which is the unrelateable part, I guess. Anyway, I had to think for almost two weeks before I could find a way to figuratively muss her hair in a way that was in keeping with her character. Her humor comes from her wit, not her external situation. But I had to come up with some situations and make them work and have her react in a way that was funny but also true to herself.

Sigh. So I worked and re-worked it and sent that thing off (because I was invited to resubmit which is apparently a very good sign) and now I'm waiting.

And while I'm waiting, I'm reading a book that should be a lot funnier than it is because the heroine is always embarrassing herself, ha ha ha. But that's the problem. She's always embarrassing herself. She NEVER learns and it's driving me nuts. Every time she thinks, "Maybe I shouldn't," she goes and does some boneheaded thing anyway.

????

It doesn't make me laugh. It makes me want to slap her. Same as the people who still write checks in the grocery store (which I will forgive) but wait until the whole total is in before they start filling in the check, which I refuse to forgive. Or like the dummies who think they're immune to using a turn signal under any circumstance. Or the inconsiderate jerks that think the hands free cell phone driving rule is for everyone else but them.

Wait, that's me.

But I mean it about the other stuff. And about this dumb, dumb girl that I want to slap, except for she's not real.

But my character embarrassed herself with integrity, so I guess I can live with it. In fact, it might be that those editor people even know what they're talking about. In fact, if they buy my book, I'll swear they're geniuses. Genii? No, geniuses. Wait...

23 comments:

LisAway said...

My husband actually does slap people who don't use their turn signals. He just honks and shows them to stop, gets out of the car, goes up to them and slaps them across the face. Well, not really, but he wishes he could, I think.(He's not really that bad. Polish people always signal.)

I would have to read the book to have any understanding of why a character has to do something dumb for them to be relateable. I mean, I NEVER do anything dumb, and I have a hard time understanding people who DO.

Alison Wonderland said...

I also never do anything dumb. lisaway are in fact the same person. (Just thought I'd point that out.)

Oh and I so know what you mean about books that are supposed to be funny like that, books like that that other people think are funny (*cough* Bridget Joneses *cough*) that are just so unrelatable (to me) that they're not funny.

Alison Wonderland said...

That's lisaway and I... I'm pretty sure I typed that. I'm blaming blogger.

Mina said...

I, too, only relate to well controlled, perfect characters. As my father-in-law would say, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

I think the technical term you want is "I can't believe it's not murder." All of life's questions are answered by Jerry.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I lack patience with people (even in my own family) who keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again. But if, ahem, I were to take a close look at myself, I guess I have my favorite mistakes too. So if your hated character has good intentions that keep being ignored, then I probably deserve a slap too.

Luisa Perkins said...

Getting invited to resubmit is an *excellent* sign. Congratulations!

Kristina P. said...

Hmmmm, I wonder if Stephanie Meyers had this same problem with Bella and thought, "Wow, I need to make her super whiny and helpless to make her super relatable!"

End rant.

Aubrey said...

It's funny what signing that contract can do. If you're like me, the whole time you're doing the rewrites you're grumbling and moaning and wondering why no one can see the beauty that is Your Final Draft. You ask yourself (with no small amount of drama)whether you will even be able to recognize this monstrosity as your own precious creation once you've finished mangling it, as requested. But once I actually saw my own book on the shelf, I had to admit that just MAYBE they knew what they were talking about.

Can't wait to hear what happens with your second submission!

CaJoh said...

Perhaps the real problem is that those people who never learn think that they are perfect. Those who know that they are not fret over those little things that others typically ignore.

Good luck with your book— can't wait to hear it's been published.

Becky said...

Characters that are dumb all the time drive me nuts, too. cough - Bella Swan - cough!

charrette said...

So that's all you're going to tell us about this fabulous read that an editor asked you to resubmit? The character needed more flaws?

For a minute I thought you were describing yourself! (Honest)

And your title reminds me of Stranger Than Fiction!

Alyson (New England Living) said...

I'm with you on this! Dumb, bumbling characters drive me crazy. The book I just read, An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes In New England, had a main character who was a bumbler and he recognized the fact. He kept calling himself a bumbler, in fact. It drove me crazy at times, but I actually ended up liking the book. I don't usually end up liking books with a bumbler though.

There was a new tv show this year (forgot the name) whose main character kept bumbling things with his future in-laws, like EVERY episode. Had to stop watching it.

But, I suppose, a bumble every now and again and a together kind of a person makes them more human. I can't wait to read what you wrote!

Oh, and anyone who loves Gilmore Girls as much as I do is a-ok in my book! :)

Annette Lyon said...

My brian is stuck on you post title.

Charatacide?

Literassination?

(Congrats on resubmitting. Crossing fingers!)

April said...

Can someone just be clumsy just because they are???? Ok, so you don't want a doctor with poor hand/eye coordination or one with constant slip & falls, but it happens people!!! {sigh}

PS-I am NOT affiliated with Dr Eggleston Chiropractor and Attorney at Law

Kazzy said...

I love your line about people writing checks in the grocery store! Every time I see that I think to myself, "What the what? I haven't written a check for ages!"

Sandi said...

Thank you Kristina for throwing that Twilight reference in there. I live for anything Twilight related...ahahah...NOT!
It sounds like those shopaholic books that I think are so hilarious might not go over so well with this crowd- I tend to like the boneheaded characters. Anyway, Congrats on being asked to re-submit, that is so cool!

Kimberly said...

Thought-provoking and funny all in one go. I think the characters we want to slap sometimes, annoying as they are, are the ones who seem most real to us. Ones that are too far out of our frame of reference...too different from the norm, are difficult to relate to. I guess that's what the quasi-genius publisher people might've been getting at.

Most people don't want to believe someone can be in control and maintain their dignity at all times. Because WE can't. And misery my dear, truly does love company. =P

Eowyn said...

Why on earth do people write books like that. Or movies for that matter. So much comedy out there I just can't stand because people never learn.

I like my humor a bit more witty.

Jessica G. said...

Actually, it's no fun to read about someone who is flawless. It's a lot harder to mock the perfect people. But people who never learn from their mistakes are worse...you just don't know where to start.

Debbie said...

I wish you so much success with the book. I would love to own a book written by you! Even if you did have to tweak the heroine.

Heather of the EO said...

I know how this is because people can relate to me so much and yet I don't do anything completely stupid.

So this book is about ME? Oh, I get it now...

Mimi said...

Don't you hate it when other people have written books that you could have written so much better? I feel like that sometimes...I feel like there are tons of morons out there writing books and getting published and I'm sitting here reading them and being pissed off. I think I need to get off my butt and just start the book I've had in my head for so long....

falwyn said...

The technical term for killing someone imaginary .... character assassination? Hohohoho! I am so funny!