Friday, October 30, 2009

Unlikeable characters, part two, plus some other stuff...

First off, I think I should offer a disclaimer. When I mention bad reviews in a post, it's not in an attempt to have readers tell me, "Oh, they're so wrong! You're such a good writer." I appreciate the sentiment, but I don't want anyone thinking I'm fishing for compliments. Bad reviews do serve a purpose. As I said before, I'm not an advocate of writing something different out of fan service, but sometimes, a negative review can help you look at things with different eyes. For example, in Blood Ties Book Three: Ashes to Ashes (or, in Germany, Blutsbande 3: Asche zu Asche, which has a way cooler cover and also is on sale right now, so run out and buy it, frauleins and whatever you call dudes over there), there was apparently a lot of crying. Like, a lot. But for some reason, I never realized it when I was writing it. Seriously, that book read like every character was watching Sophie's Choice. While on their period. Especially Nathan. If I hadn't read those reviews, I would have never noticed, and I wouldn't have been able to excise all the wailing and gnashing of teeth that I did from book four. And yeah, I did remove crying from that one, despite how much is still in there.

I wonder if I was having some kind of episode when I wrote those.

Anyway, I'm still thinking of unlikeable characters. Comments from y'all indicate that you like characters who aren't "perfect." This, I can get behind. A character with no flaws is not someone I can root for (cue snickering Australians). But now I'm thinking, is it a character who never makes a bad choice that's the problem, or a character who makes the wrong choices and insists that they're right? Which one is worse? That's a "would you rather" for you... would you rather read a sickeningly perfect character, personality wise, who can admit when they're wrong, or a sickeningly perfect character who believes that everything is right, just so long as they're the one doing it?

In other news, I'm going to go ahead and spill about the as-yet-untitled vampire book that I'm doing for Mira. It is not, in any way, connect to Blood Ties. Okay, well, it's like Blood Ties's distant cousin. When I first wrote Blood Ties Book One: The Turning, it wasn't a "book one." It was just Blood Ties and it was a traditional, HEA romance, and my idea was to pull a Sherrilyn Kenyon and introduce new characters in every book who would get their own HEA stories, within a broader series. One of those stories is what is being released next, though not with a character you've met in the Blood Ties series, and not in that universe, at all. I'm going to switch up some of the vampire rules and junk. And put in less crying.

The story itself is about a vampire who likes being a vampire, thinks it's the best decision he's ever made, and has never really run into any hardships or anything because of being a vampire. He ends up trapped in a town that is being held captive by supernatural powers, and suddenly finds himself in a whole heap of trouble, trying to hide from them what he is and convincing them that he's not responsible for their misery just by virtue of being a nonhuman.

I'm excited about this project, because, like with the book that eventually became The Turning, I get to take an idea that was, for the most part, already written and completely rewrite it, from the ground up. I get to take the skeleton of the idea and put new skin on it, which is going to be a lot of fun, because I didn't necessarily like the way it was written the first time. I think it's going to be great, and I'll be happy to get it out of my head after six years of it being firmly lodged in there.

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