Parenting

*~*July 9th Writers' Check-in*~*

Getting this show going early - rumor has it that the site is going down tonight for updating fun?

Weekly progress:

If you're working on something (writing/outlining/brainstorming/etc),how is it going? If you're new here, care to share any details of your project(s)?

If you set a goal for the past week, how are you doing? Did you meet it?

What's your goal for the next week?

Discussion:

 We talked some about characters last week; as a writer, how do you approach developing a protagonist? Is it important that he/she be likable? Relatable?

As a reader, what makes a compelling protagonist?

What do you do about writer's block? Any tried and true methods you use to overcome?

How do you focus yourself when you only have a short time to write between distractions (be it kids, work, etc) and maintain that focus until your next writing break?

 

PSA: Next Tuesday, I'm heading east to see my family. If I'm around at all that day, it'll be late. LD, do you want to take next week's check-in and possibly (probably) the week after as well?


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Re: *~*July 9th Writers' Check-in*~*

  • I haven't worked on anything. We were away all weekend and will be this upcoming weekend. Hopefully things slow down for us soon.


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    Parenting Floozie Brigades official motto:  We welcome to you the board with open legs.  Also, open beers. ~@cinemagoddess



  • Wait, I don't bump at night. What glorious things am I missing?
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  • image acaudill75:
    Wait, I don't bump at night. What glorious things am I missing?

    Hey! We just started these two weeks ago. If you want to catch up on the discussions:

    http://community.thebump.com/cs/ks/forums/thread/74958561.aspx

    http://community.thebump.com/cs/ks/forums/thread/75122212.aspx



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  • image acaudill75:
    Wait, I don't bump at night. What glorious things am I missing?

    Parenting after dark.
    http://i.imgur.com/LQTLw2Q.jpg
    -My son was born in April 2012. He pretty much rules.
  • Shut your ever lovin' mouths...

    I was just arguing with DH last night about when do I get to chase my dream of being a writer?

    I will have to take part in this.

    Plus, who parents after dark? Once the sun goes down, those little suckers are on their own.

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  • image acaudill75:

    Plus, who parents after dark? Once the sun goes down, those little suckers are on their own.

    If you don't Bump at night and don't parent after dark, wtf do you do?


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  • image LexiLupin:
    image acaudill75:

    Plus, who parents after dark? Once the sun goes down, those little suckers are on their own.

    If you don't Bump at night and don't parent after dark, wtf do you do?

    Sleep??

    Now, I shall start writing.

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  • Sleep is for the weak.

    Though if the site is down overnight tonight, that's good, because it might actually mean I gothefuck to sleep at a decent hour for once. Heh.


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  • image LexiLupin:

    Discussion:

     We talked some about characters last week; as a writer, how do you approach developing a protagonist? Is it important that he/she be likable? Relatable?

    As a reader, what makes a compelling protagonist?


    PSA: Next Tuesday, I'm heading east to see my family. If I'm around at all that day, it'll be late. LD, do you want to take next week's check-in and possibly (probably) the week after as well?

    I shall address the other points later. I'm happy to moderate the discussion next week. I'll just have to remember all those points of topic I brainstormed last night!

    I'll go ahead and admit that most of my protagonists to date have shared a lot of characteristics with me. I struggle with writing compelling female protagonists without making them sound too "male" or leaning on stereotypes. Minimally, most of my protagonists react to situations like I might and speak in my "voice". I've been working both on writing women better and varying my voice more. I actually think that's one thing George RR Martin does very well in Game of Thrones. Most of his characters have fairly distinct voices (although there is understandable overlap between siblings).

    There have been a lot of unlikable male protagonists in popular media in recent years. Tony Soprano kind of started it, followed by Walter White, Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire, Don Draper (to some extent) and others. These characters often are highly competent, driven by what they do, and live by their own moral codes.

    I guess bottom line, a protagonist has to be interesting if you're going to make them unlikable. Although I never quite finished it, the main character from Confederation of Dunces, Ignatius, is arguably an example of a deplorable character no one would ever want to actually spend time with, yet it's interesting to peer into his head and follow him around.

    A compelling protagonist should have flaws. Otherwise you run the risk of a Mary Sue situation (tempted to link to tvtropes, but I don't want to destroy time and lives). Mary (or Marty) Sue (Stu) characters are author avatars who are typically too perfect to be real, except perhaps for one minor flaw that makes them more endearing. A common one is clumsiness (see: Bella Swan). Mary Sues are especially problematic in fanfic, where they are often used to simply shake up the existing universe and have all the major characters fall in love with them.

    So a protagonist must have flaws. Ideally they should also grow, although this is less true for short stories than novels. One advantage of short stories is they give a lot of flexibility in this regard. There are great short stories where the protagonist is essentially a blank slate. Some short stories involve plot twists at the end that reveal something about the protagonist that completely throws the events of the story into chaos; "he" was actually a woman, or the killer, or an alien, or whatever. When done wrong this can be pure cheese, but when done well this can really really work.

    I do think the easiest route is to write a protagonist who is relatable and likable who the reader can relate to the world through. Lindsey Lohan's character in Mean Girls would be an example of this working just fine. She's smart, she's pretty, she's likable, and you want to root for her against the Mean Girls.

    Ok, I've written way too much.

    http://i.imgur.com/LQTLw2Q.jpg
    -My son was born in April 2012. He pretty much rules.
  • At the risk of venturing into the TV discussion- has anyone watched House of Cards? There's an exercise in an unlikable (and unrelatable, IMO) protagonist. I didn't think it worked all too well, but still can't pinpoint what, precisely, the problem was. Maybe that he was neither? I don't think you have to like a character to enjoy his story but that was just lacking.

     

    I love that LD brought Mean Girls to the table. 


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  • I don't think a protagonist needs to be liked or related to. For instance, I can't stand Bella Swan. Or maybe its more Kristen Stewart. The need to have a man, or two, save you constantly is annoying. Doesn't keep me from reading a book.

    As for your atypical protagonist, such as Nucky or Tony S., I think their appeal is they do what we are sometimes tempted to ourselves, but our inner voice shames us out of actually doing. So, we live vicariously through their crimes of moral turpitude.

    Unless I am planning on writing a Greek tragedy, I don't think I would limit my protagonist to one fatal flaw. I also don't think I would want a Mr. Bean type, either. I do like a person that can laugh at themselves, and enjoy novels where the is comic relief at the expense of the main character. It is like a nice pause to breathe inbetween the thrills and chills.

    Having said that, I think any protagonist I would develop, comedic or otherwise, would have to have a sense of humor, and self-depricating at that. Given that I majored in History, and enjoy biographies about Tudor-era people, that might make for some interesting fiction.

    I have yet to find time between parenting and work. I am interested to hear how others manage it. My dad always said, writers write. But I always assumed they were childless.

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  • image LexiLupin:

    At the risk of venturing into the TV discussion- has anyone watched House of Cards? There's an exercise in an unlikable (and unrelatable, IMO) protagonist. I didn't think it worked all too well, but still can't pinpoint what, precisely, the problem was. Maybe that he was neither? I don't think you have to like a character to enjoy his story but that was just lacking.

     

    I love that LD brought Mean Girls to the table. 

    In House of Cards or in writing with an unlikable protagonist, I think the protagonist keeps you wondering if he is going to break occasionally and show you a rare glimpse of vulnerability or compassion. The viewer/reader keeps craving it, getting teased with it, being set up to see it, only to be let down. Alas, the protagonist shows no mercy or vulnerability, and he gets deeper beneath the viewer's/reader's skin, making himself/herself even more unlikable.

    The proverbial love-to-hate protagonist is one I will probably never be able to master.   

    "To me, you are perfect."
    image

  • If you're working on something (writing/outlining/brainstorming/etc),how is it going? If you're new here, care to share any details of your project(s)? Going okay. Mostly down to just the motivation issue (see below) when I actually have the time to work on it.

    If you set a goal for the past week, how are you doing? Did you meet it? I did not finish my story as planned, but I'm getting there.

    What's your goal for the next week? Well, since I'll be traveling next week, I really need to finish what I'm working on, lol, especially if I decide not to take my computer with me. Juggling a laptop in an airport with a baby & requisite gear sounds like a PITA.

    Discussion:

     We talked some about characters last week; as a writer, how do you approach developing a protagonist? Is it important that he/she be likable? Relatable? Similarly to LD, I have a problem with putting too much of myself into my main characters. I don't think I do it as much when playing with well-developed existing characters in fanfic, but certainly when I develop my own, I tend to fall back on what I know, so to speak.

    As I get older, I think I'm getting a little better with avoiding the Mary Sue (or Gary Stu as the male equivalent in my circles, lol) trap, or having cliched token faults, but I feel like that's an easy trap for new or young writers to fall into.

    I think KJ covered the likability aspect really well- a certain desire or curiosity to see any redeeming quality in the character gives a hook that's lacking when you don't necessarily like him/her in the first place. Gets you emotionally invested in a different way. There's a great character in the Star Wars EU who toes this line awesomely. He's a great villain but not necessarily a bad individual, and the author plays with your perception of him by writing him from different angles, and making him the protagonist in some stories and antagonist in others.

    As a reader, what makes a compelling protagonist?

    Might come back to this later, but I think it's been somewhat covered above.

    What do you do about writer's block? Any tried and true methods you use to overcome?

    I'm a fan of the 'just sit down and write' method. Not necessarily write something for a current project, but just something, anything that pops into your head. Hopefully your stream of consciousness will guide your inspiration back in the right direction sooner or later.

    How do you focus yourself when you only have a short time to write between distractions (be it kids, work, etc) and maintain that focus until your next writing break?

     Still working on this one. When I have the time to really sink my teeth into something, I always, without fail, let myself get distracted by the internet and you hors. But I do a lot of mapping out of scenes and dialogue in my head when I'm bored but can't actually write, it's just a matter of settling in to transfer it to screen.



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  • Also, LD- assuming the formatting changes actually happen, I'll PM you the notes (i.e. your notes)/link from last night and the links to the 3 existing check-ins.

    ...is it nerdy if I want to keep a link archive?


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  • image LexiLupin:

    At the risk of venturing into the TV discussion- has anyone watched House of Cards? There's an exercise in an unlikable (and unrelatable, IMO) protagonist. I didn't think it worked all too well, but still can't pinpoint what, precisely, the problem was. Maybe that he was neither? I don't think you have to like a character to enjoy his story but that was just lacking.

     

    I love that LD brought Mean Girls to the table. 

    I love Tina Fey. I try to write in her voice if I want to create a smart, funny female character. I don't often succeed, but I try. 

    http://i.imgur.com/LQTLw2Q.jpg
    -My son was born in April 2012. He pretty much rules.
  • image LexiLupin:
    Also, LD assuming the formatting changes actually happen, I'll PM you the notes i.e. your notes/link from last night and the links to the 3 existing checkins. ...is it nerdy if I want to keep a link archive?

    Wonderfully nerdy and organized.
    http://i.imgur.com/LQTLw2Q.jpg
    -My son was born in April 2012. He pretty much rules.
  • See, now I'm fairly intimidated by all of you.  I just write for fun and no a little about writing structure. 


    image

    Parenting Floozie Brigades official motto:  We welcome to you the board with open legs.  Also, open beers. ~@cinemagoddess



  • image missyishere:
    See, now I'm fairly intimidated by all of you.  I just write for fun and no a little about writing structure. 

    We can be intimidated together.

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  • image missyishere:
    See, now I'm fairly intimidated by all of you.  I just write for fun and no a little about writing structure. 

    I think that means you're winning!

    http://i.imgur.com/LQTLw2Q.jpg
    -My son was born in April 2012. He pretty much rules.
  • image acaudill75:

    image missyishere:
    See, now I'm fairly intimidated by all of you.  I just write for fun and no a little about writing structure. 

    We can be intimidated together.

    Pinky promise?  Because I'm feeling rather insecure today.  



    image

    Parenting Floozie Brigades official motto:  We welcome to you the board with open legs.  Also, open beers. ~@cinemagoddess



  • If you're working on something (writing/outlining/brainstorming/etc),how is it going? If you're new here, care to share any details of your project(s)?

    If you set a goal for the past week, how are you doing? Did you meet it?

    What's your goal for the next week?


    I set a goal last week of 2,000-4,000 words on my novel(s). By my count I barely hit 2,000 over the holiday weekend, rounding up. On the plus side, they were 2,000 words towards scenes and chapters that I've been struggling with and I'm that much closer to finishing a draft.

     Also on the bad news, I'm not gonna finish a draft of "book 1" in July. No way. I figure I have 7,000 words left to write on it.

     My goal for next week will be the same as this week: At least 3 20+ minute writing sessions, at least 2,000 words.

    What do you do about writer's block? Any tried and true methods you use to overcome?

    I guess for me just sitting down and writing works. If it's garbage I can usually redirect myself. I have more issue getting started than with block. Thanks to my commute and work boredom I have a lot of time to percolate ideas in my head, so then it's an issue of sitting down and getting all my thoughts on the page.

    How do you focus yourself when you only have a short time to write between distractions (be it kids, work, etc) and maintain that focus until your next writing break?

    It's incredibly hard. It's part of why I'm so momentum driven. If I haven't written in a day or two I completely forget where I was at and have to re-read what I wrote, and that can take 15-20 minutes. Sometimes for short breaks new scenes or bits of dialog are the easiest to tackle. Editing/revising is also ok in that time. But when it comes to flow, consistency, and transitions, I really need blocks of time.


    http://i.imgur.com/LQTLw2Q.jpg
    -My son was born in April 2012. He pretty much rules.
  • image eddy321:

    For me, protagonists tend to share my experiences, although their personalities often differ from mine (they're usually the kind of person I would rather have been in a certain situation).  It is hard for me to stray from personal experiences, because, like LD said, I tend to rely too much on stereotypes or make masculine characters too feminine.  I also have a tendency to be too goody-goody with characters.  I think I do a fairly good job at portraying angst, but the characters are underlyingly good people, and I don't always want them to be.

    I think most people don't view themselves as bad people or villains, even if they are the villain in someone else's story.  I suppose an easy example is "the other woman". As the cliche goes, she might say things like "his wife doesn't understand him like I do" and "they don't love each other anymore." Even the cheating husband typically doesn't view himself as a bad person in that scenario. He might rationalize, he might admit he made a mistake.

    Good people make mistakes. They make them all the time out of laziness, forgetfulness, impulsiveness or even a sense of vengeance. So you can have underlyingly good characters who still do things that aren't always good.

      I think with men it's important to remember a lot of men aren't good at processing their emotions. As a group we tend to oppress our feels and only allow anger and sometimes happiness to show. Expressing vulnerability and asking for help are much bigger deals for men than for women. Men also tend to care a lot more about prestige than women do. Again, to grossly stereotype, men care more about status while women care more about building consensus. When a man *knows* he is right, he is more likely to go against a group. Women are more likely to accept group-think and not make waves (although some of the most interesting women buck that stereotype.

    http://i.imgur.com/LQTLw2Q.jpg
    -My son was born in April 2012. He pretty much rules.
  • image missyishere:
    See, now I'm fairly intimidated by all of you.  I just write for fun and no a little about writing structure. 

    I work best by improvisation, so you're not alone! 

    "To me, you are perfect."
    image

  • eddy321 said:

    Also, you're pretty wise, LD.
    If only my wife agreed with you on this point!

    I'm going to make a small point of clarification. Men HAVE emotion. They just bottle and don't express it and don't always understand it themselves. Often times part of being romantically involved with a man can involve understanding his emotions better than he does.

    Again, these are stereotypes. You can write a man in touch with his emotions. Such men exist. But it would be a notable character trait.

    http://i.imgur.com/LQTLw2Q.jpg
    -My son was born in April 2012. He pretty much rules.
  • OOOH! Notifications on my thread! Fancy!

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    LuckyDad
  • Also, Facebook, but whatevs.

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  • LexiLupin said:
    OOOH! Notifications on my thread! Fancy!
    You can now bookmark things too.
    http://i.imgur.com/LQTLw2Q.jpg
    -My son was born in April 2012. He pretty much rules.
  • LuckyDadLuckyDad
    Moderator 10000 Comments 250 Answers 500 Love Its
    mod
    edited July 2013
    @LexiLupin I like this thread


    ETA: Well how the deuce do you @ people with motherlovin spaces in their names?
    http://i.imgur.com/LQTLw2Q.jpg
    -My son was born in April 2012. He pretty much rules.
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