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A reason for everything

May 31, 2012

This is realistic, right?

One of the critiques I’ve had of previous work is that I’ve fallen into another trap laid by Robert B. Parker. Many of the women in my work are impossibly beautiful. Not Barbie-like, but they’re usually attractive. And while in God’s eyes, we’re all attractive–it’s what gives me hope–the human eye isn’t quite so kind.

So, when I decided to make the secondary protagonist of my work in progress tall and blonde and physically fit, I ran the risk of falling down that same hole. Not all women are tall and blonde and physically fit. Most of the physically fit women I know aren’t tall and blonde. And the few tall blondes I know aren’t physically fit.

So making her tall, blonde, and buff was done with a purpose. First of all, she works in radio. Even though people don’t see you in the air in radio, they see you at the appearances and on the monster-sized billboards and, increasingly, on the show’s Facebook page. When you’re tall and blonde and articulate, people will listen to you who might not otherwise do so.

Tall, blonde, articulate, physically active and fit. Holy crap, Chris. You didn’t fall down that hole, you dove in without a parachute. You built a freaking amazon goddess. Moron. (Show me pictures.)

Actually, yes I did, to a degree. With a purpose. My character is also sarcastic and witty and tends not to back down from confrontation. As my protagonist withdraws to deal with some of the garbage occurring in his life, she has to be formidable. They are a professional and personal team–though not in a sexual way. She is the more aggressive one.

But she also has fibromyalgia. I know a handful of women who suffer periodically from it. And it’s a tough thing to deal with, especially if you’re a freaking amazon goddess. Your self-assurance and physical command of your body vanishes and your strengths, the things a flare-up don’t allow you to do, are essentially turned against you. If you’re supposed to be strong and self-reliant and you have to crawl across the floor to get to the bathroom because your feet hurt too much to walk on, there’s a bit of internal stress there.

In short, ideally, nothing in your story should occur by random chance. If your lead female is attractive, buff, and articulate, there should be a reason for that. Put another way, you should make that work for you somehow. If you don’t, you’re missing an opportunity.

How do you make seemingly random things work for you?

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One Comment
  1. celticadlx permalink
    May 31, 2012 10:11 am

    In my novel “Evangeline’s Miracle” I used flowers as a “random” thing. They were actually a link between characters that helped the story come together at the end. The idea came to me from two places. First my grandmother owned her own florist shop in Ocala, Florida in the 20’s/30’s (very unusual for a woman in those days) and second in the book “Practical Magic”, Alice Hoffman uses flowers to create moods and I loved how she did that.

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