CHERRY is a good story. I know it’s good. I think so, anyway. And I think David Brandt is an interesting character. He reminds me of myself, which perhaps I shouldn’t admit, but. . .
This post reflects a temporary lapse in one writer’s confidence. Perhaps my next post will be upbeat, perhaps sickeningly so.
Doubtful, but. . .
Anyway, right now, somebody in South Africa is reading CHERRY. Which is totally and completing amazing to a certain lady living in the shadows of Detroit, Michigan–I mean, SOUTH AFRICA??? I should write a blog about how nifty it is to be able to converse with people from all over the world.
Anyway, this person, this very cool and smart person is reading my novel and right now she’s royally pissed at my mc, David Brandt, to wit:
- Can’t read anymore tonight. Hate Brandt too much.
Which brings me to last night.
Last night, Mr. kk and I went on a little ride and somehow our conversation drifted to the topic of CHERRY. Coincidentally, we were on Roberts Road at the time, which is the road upon which I base SR-6 in the novel.
We were talking about how cool it was that this very cool person from S. Africa is reading CHERRY. He asked me what she thought of the novel so far. I told him I thought she was liking it, but now I’m not so sure because she hates David Brandt right now.
I don’t doubt it, Mr. kk told me. He’s an asshole. I never felt any sympathy for the guy. He was a shit at the beginning, and he’s a shit at the end.
WAIT, I said–thinking of character arcs–What? I mean, I know he didn’t change significantly from the beginning of the book to the end, it was a matter of degree but . . . seriously, you didn’t feel any sympathy for the guy?
Fuck no. Why would I? Start to finish, he’s a selfish, self-centered prick.
I responded by explaining about the importance of character arcs. . .
(Sidebar: I found an interesting blog about the importance of character arcs: http://blog.janicehardy.com/2013/02/why-character-arcs-and-growth-make.html .
- Flawed characters with something to learn are more sympathetic and have more room for growth
- The struggle to change helps endear a character to the reader
- A change of heart or viewpoint must come from a real change made from a struggle and an experience, not just because plot says so
- A character arc that forces a character to face their faults and come out stronger for it is a character readers can root for )
. . .to which Mr. kk responded: All I know is, at the beginning of CHERRY, Brandt’s an introverted prick. At the end, he’s more aware of other people, more self-aware but he’s still a prick, only now he’s an exo-prick.
I started to laugh.
Then I stopped laughing.
If Mr. kk sees no significant change in my mc from the beginning of the novel to the end, if he considers my mc to be totally unsympathetic. . .
Character arc? What character arc? Regardless of intent, if my readers don’t see David Brandt’s transformation, such that it is–if it doesn’t register, doesn’t translate; if they believe there’s no change in Brandt, no growth; if they hate him at the beginning of my novel and still hate him at the end, then where’s the story?
Where the hell’s the story, kk?