Wednesday, June 10, 2009
You dread purple prose. What about purple toes? . . . Sorry. That was really bad.
I have a small confession: I'm typing this with purple fingernails. Sally Hansen INSTA-DRI Fast Dry Nail Color in Pronto Purple, to be exact. Another confession: my toenails match.
As a woman over 40, (which I suppose is yet another confession), I favor pinks, corals, reds, and mauves for lips and nails. I'm a firm believer that black, green, blue--and a rainbow of other colors--are perfect for dresses but not as nail colors. Yet, I'm staring at the bright purple tips of my fingers, a color which is totally out-of-character for me.
What's something "out-of-character" for your character? In other words, what's something you can't imagine your hero or heroine ever doing?
Did you think of something?
Donald Maass, author of Writing the Breakout Novel, says to imagine something your protagonist would absolutely never do. Now, imagine him or her doing that very thing, then write the scene. After attending one of Mr. Maass's workshops, Author DiAnn Mills wrote a scene showing her protagonist doing something "out-of-character." When she included the scene in her book, it took her novel to a new level.
Allow your hero to do the unexpected. You'll surprise your readers and might even surprise yourself. Your characters will be unique individuals, not predictable stereotypes. Best of all, your writing will be as fresh and as one-of-a-kind as you are.
Go write that scene--the one you couldn't imagine your character doing, only you then imagined it anyway.
You know, I kind of like these purple nails . . .
~ Roxanne Sherwood
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