You’re making me do WHAT?!? - A conversation with a main character...
MC: Well, you could first start by giving me a name. I don’t think readers want to see dude/dudette throughout the whole manuscript
Oh, okay. Yeah, a name would be good. How about Paul?
MC: Paul? I like it. I feel like a Paul.
Good! Now, Paul, you pick up your mighty broadsword and cleave the troll in halve while stealing the magic elixir to awaken the princess.
MC: Yeah, I didn’t know you were putting me into a fantasy story. Do you think Paul would be an appropriate name for the main hero?
Huh? I guess you’re right. They usually have names like Edolpho, or Granidigle, or whatever. How about this? - Paul gathers her hoop skirt in close while batting her eyelashes. “Why, Mr. Cummings! Ya’ll can’t go blaming a gal like me in trying to catch the fancy of an available bachelor.” - Yes, that sounds good.
MC: Paul isn’t a girl’s name. And what happened to the fantasy bit?
Oh, I changed my mind. Are you sure you can’t be a girl named Paul? I could change it to “Paulette.” Do you feel like a “Paulette?”
MC: Let me unzip my pants and check something. Hm, I’m definitely not a “Paulette.”
TMI, main character! Well, we’ll stick with Paul. But where do we go from here?
MC: How about choosing a genre? You skipped from fantasy to southern women’s fiction. You have to pick something to move forward with the story.
All right. Let’s pick suspense/thriller.
MC: Fine. Suspense/thriller. Now what will I be doing?
You and your brother Peter will sneak into ol’ man Cummings decrepit mansion looking for Grandfather Philip’s missing antique sock monkey that was injected with a deadly toxin. Peter’s dog Pudgie begins growling when hearing a creaking noise on the floorboards behind...
MC: Whoa! Wait a minute. Don’t you think that’s too many “P’s?”
What do you mean? I’m not having everyone go to the bathroom all at once?
MC: No, not “pee.” “P’s.” My name is Paul. My brother’s name is Peter. Our grandfather is a Philip. And you even named our dog Pudgie. That’s way too much. You’ll confuse everyone if you give all the characters similar names like that.
OH! I do see your point. How about your brother’s name will be Mike and your grandfather will be Simon. The dog will be called Oscar.
MC: That’s a bit better. So I’m searching for a sock monkey filled with toxins hidden in a haunted mansion?
Yes. Unfortunately, every time you get near it, the monkey falls through a trap door and appears in a different dimension. You try going after it while the drug runners are shooting at the vice cops in the basement and The Rockettes are practicing their dance routine on the second floor.
MC: Drug runners? The Rockettes?
It gets even better. The sock monkey comes alive, terrorizing the small Viking village as it turns all the children into flesh eating zombies. How suspenseful it will be to see you save everyone!
Okay. What’s wrong now?
MC: Do you think any of that is plausible? How in the world are you going to link it all together without any plot holes?
But I want the story to be exciting. I want it to have the people falling from their seats in shock.
MC: Yet the readers have to believe in the storyline. This is just a jumble of ideas stuck together with no rhyme or reason. Pick something believable and roll with it without too much deviation into chaos.
I guess you’re right. How about this, Paul? There were two unexplained murders in a small town, one that involves your brother. While the police run out of suspects, you decide to look for clues along with the grieving sister of the other murder victim. This leads you down many paths, one in which where love blossoms for the woman. Unfortunately, you discover a disturbing twist in the tale.
MC: Let me guess. I fall in love with the sister who was the one that murdered my brother.
Even better. You could have accidently killed her sister. And there are clues that at least one of the murder victims had faked their own death for an insurance scam. But nobody knows which one.
MC: Okay, let’s go on with this idea...
Posted by Michelle H.