Characters, Characters, and Not a Drop to Drink

We continue working through the dreaded middle of the changeling story. And it goes okay! Not amazingly, not like the words are pouring out of my fingers, but not where I’m staring at the screen wondering what I’m doing with my life and where I’ve gone wrong.

I spent some time yesterday drawing the main characters for the book, Ivy and Birch. (Everyone gets nature-related names, cuz Faeries.) Ivy’s on her third name and Birch is on his second, but I think this batch will stick. Anyway, I drew them because I feel like they’re kind of weirdly nebulous, personality wise.

Which is annoying and frustrating. Character is normally my strong point. The other characters in the book are fine! There’s Iris, Ivy’s twin, who is foul-mouthed and slightly selfish and vain and an absolute joy to write. Even minor characters are good. It’s just my two mains which feel…off.

I don’t know that drawing them has helped anything. (The drawing, like how the writing goes, is okay! Not bad–except for Birch’s arm, which I tried three times to fix and then gave up on–but not amazing.)

I did more character work up front than normal for this story too, which makes it even more frustrating. If you recall, I’m using a story-writing course I bought forever ago, How to Think Sideways by Holly Lisle, as I work on this novel. (Or, well, I’m working on this novel because I’m taking this course. Something.) So there was one class that was about character motivations and whatnot, so I can tell you all the tragic backstory that has led the characters to being the people they are today, as well as their values, but that’s not helping anything.

And maybe they’re not even bad! Maybe they’re fine and I’m just stuck in the doldrums of Act 2, and once everything is on fire everything will be fine.

I guess I add it to my list of things to fix in revision (if it turns out to be an actual problem and not just me second-guessing everything).

I also find myself wanting to get on to the revision, which I can’t do because I need the draft to be done first, and also is just kind of weird. I burned out on revision–that’s why I switched over to writing new work, cuz I spent like, five years straight revising things.

Maybe revision sounds comforting though. Writing itself is sometimes like stumbling through the woods at night without a flashlight, but revision has a path and a light and normally gets to someplace safe and warm at the end.

Eh, who knows? Not me! You’d think by now I’d have some semblence of an idea–this is my 10th first draft (only counting stories that were finished in the end)–but apparently each time you still have to stumble through the woods.

Is it fall yet? I would very much like it to be fall. How are you doing, squiders? Been up to anything fun? Any cool projects you’ve been working on?

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