When Your Characters Kick Your Ass by Zen DiPietro

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When Your Characters Kick Your Ass (Finding your own process)

My characters always do things I didn’t expect. A little background: I used to be a serious role-playing gamer (RPGer). It gave me a lot of practice at being another person. My RPG characters were real people with highly developed personalities. I write my books the same way. I mentally roleplay each one of them, and see what happens. When you really know your character, you can put her into a situation and find out how she reacts.

Most of the time, this works out great. Something I hadn’t even considered becomes a great scene or a yummy plot point. When planning my third book in the Guardians of Terath series, I hit a roadblock because my characters were not cooperating with what I wanted to do. I insisted, “This is what needs to happen,” and they replied with “Yeah, not doing that. Let us know when you think of something else. See ya.” 

 After weeks of struggling, I realized that what I wanted to do just wasn’t going to work. So I shifted the story to another character’s perspective (no, I’m not telling you. You’ll have to wait until Book 3 comes out) and suddenly my wayward characters got on board and started waving their swords and screaming like the badasses they are.

Some people outline their books and some people develop them as they go. Whether you plot your story or fly by the seat of your pants isn’t important. It’s about finding the right method for you. I use a hybrid of the two techniques. I start out by writing everything down so that I can keep track of random thoughts and form a basic structure. I usually outline the first few chapters. By that point my characters and their words and adventures are falling all over themselves to get onto the page, so I start writing. Actually, I simply cannot deny the urge to write. Once a story builds to the right tender juiciness, it all just has to start pouring onto the page.

The point is, find what works. Writing is such a personal, creative process. Find your own process, and trust it, even when you’re having a rough time. If you trust your process, you’ll be able to let go of those nasty self-doubts that crop up. And you’ll be able to listen to what your characters have to say. When they start arguing with you, you’ll know you’ve developed characters worth reading about.

 An earth-like world of high-tech humans faces the reality that their world is not as safe as they thought it was. Five people are thrown together to quietly get to the bottom of an unfathomable mana event that must stay quiet. If the population of Terath becomes aware of the truth, it will spark a civil war. That war would pit the majority of the population against the powerful minority with the ability to harness and manipulate mana. The resulting cataclysm would decimate the population and tear apart the foundation of society.

 The five people chosen for this must reconsider everything they thought they knew about mana, even as they learn to trust one another’s abilities. They must embrace everything they never wanted in order to prevent the devastation of their world. One of them will be forever changed. Love will be denied, badassery will be unleashed, and Terath will never be the same.

Even success comes at a price.

In February, Zen DiPietro is giving away a Women of Badassery mouse pad, for all of your badass mouse-clicking needs.

Come visit Women of Badassery, where we celebrate women who rule and writing that rocks.






Zen DiPietro is a lifelong bookworm, a fantasy/sci-fi writer, a dancer, and a mom of two. Also red-haired, left-handed, and a vegetarian geek. Absolutely terrible at conforming. Particular loves include badass heroines, Star Trek, British accents, baba ganoush, and the smell of Band-Aids. Writing reviews, author interviews, and fun stuff at www.womenofbadassery.com. Very active on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Website: http://www.womenofbadassery.com

Twitter: @ZenDiPietro

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/zendipietro/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24973127-guardians-of-terath?from_search=true

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