Friday, March 23, 2012
The Witch's Brew- The Writer and the Pirate, Part Four of Four
Pirates can't write worth a damn.
But they're always giving advice and pushing that bottle of rum at you.
Don't do it. Don't take even a sip.
Years at sea and most of them don't have a gold doubloon to their name. But they go on and on about buried treasure and stormy seas. Slapping the tavern table and spilling the rum everywhere. Eyes darting around the room looking for danger while whispering to you about bloody battles and captured damsels. Dead men tell no tales and skeleton fingers pointing the way.
They push their witch's brew at you.
Strong female characters. Strong male characters. Fatal flaws. Characters just like the ones you've seen on television and movies. Just like the ones you've read about in other books. Actually, that's where they get them.
You're almost convinced. Pirates know their writing, don't they? They sound like they really know what they're talking about. They have an eye-patch over one eye and the other is lit like a lantern you can follow with confidence to the shore of writing success.
Look closer, it's actually a skeleton holding that lantern.
Pirate writers, you see, are just skeletons. There's no meat on their bones. There's no meat on their character's bones. They're not real. They're simply pirated from the stories and scripts that someone else created. That's why we call them pirates.
They don't do what real writers do.
It's why so many characters in so many books, TV shows and movies seem alike.
Readers are desperate for truly original characters. They don't want Fool's Gold from pirates.
Don't be a pirate writer.
But while it's just you and me here, tell me how close the characters you create are to those you've read about and watched on either TV or the movies.
Don't be nervous, it's just the two of us talking. Are your characters really yours? I don't mean to say you stole them. I just want you to examine how original they really are. Is their dialogue something you've already ready or heard? Their mannerisms?
Think about it.