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  1. loonypapa
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    loonypapa Member

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    Ok, I went in a completely different direction with my MC intro...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by loonypapa, Apr 19, 2016.

    It's crude, I know, but it's a first pass. I just wrote this in one shot, started about 10 minutes ago:

    Evie Martin finally caught a break. A delicious twenty-six-minute solo drive in the family van from the house to the softball field. In total silence. Batteries: recharge ‘em while you got ‘em. She owed Marcie big time for picking up her two girls for practice. That gave Evie a good solid hour to food shop for the week. In a crowded supermarket. On a beautiful Saturday morning. While I could have been at the field. Catching up with my friends. Drinking coffee.

    “Ugghhh, stop!” she said out loud. Evie caught herself doing what her husband Pete called the Debbie Downer routine. Self-flagellation, was more like it. Maybe a little guilt?

    Maybe. Not that she wanted to avoid her own kids, no not by any stretch. But with Pete gone for the next umpteen months doing recovery work, and the long hours she was saddled with at the lab, she was starting to fray. She saw more and more of it every morning. The house was messier. Her hair avoided staying put no matter how short she cut it. Dark pouches under the eyes. The constant yawning. The crappy eating habits. The whole nine yards.

    What did the Colonel call it? My bottle is filling up?

    The “Colonel” was David Hackworth. A decorated combat veteran and respected journalist from Earth’s 20th century, he wrote in his memoir about the process of a soldier shouldering the stress of combat, and likened it to an internal bottle filling up. The bottle gets filled the more stress you take on. Once it starts running over, your goose is cooked. Mental breakdown. Or PTSD, shell shock, call it what you want. You become ineffective. Pulled off the line or worse. Her doctoral advisor made all of his candidates read the memoir in their first year. “You’ll thank me when you have kids,” he joked.

    So what did that make Evie?

    A stressed-out single-mom/forensic lab manager, with a PhD, not enough time in the day, and a combat memoir on her book shelf, she mused.


    QUESTION: Did you come away with idea that she was family-oriented, stressed out, and a science/technology professional? Endearing enough to keep reading about how she's going to save a whole bunch of people?
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I realize that you want feedback on the content, not the writing, but I'm being distracted by the writing--specifically the high incidence of thoughts-in-italics, and of backstoryesque material.

    Edited to add: After a moment's thought, I think my biggest problem is that almost none of it is in the present. She's thinking about what she did earlier today, and what she's going to do, and what someone told her in the past, and her husband's behavior in the past, and so on.
     
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  3. FaythFuI
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    FaythFuI Member

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    I like the idea of her being a stress-out single mother with a very demanding job, but the writing itself feels a little bit too erratic in a way where I feel overwhelmed as a reader. I understand the idea of putting in this sense of urgency, but I believe that you may need to slow Evie's thoughts down, and maybe narrow in on one particular scene to really allow the reader to get a feel for her character. I agree with ChickenFreak in the sense that the writing was distracting. As I said before, try slowing down her actions, and narrowing in on a particular stressor/stressful feelings whilst tying in pieces of her overall personality.
     
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  4. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I didn't get much of a science/technology feel other than the reference to the pHD itself. But you don't necessarily need to show off her nerd credz to make her a believable professional in that area. Believe it or not, those people are capable of seeming like anyone else. :bigmeh: I would know, my parents are engineers. Although none of us are normal per se.
     
  5. loonypapa
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    loonypapa Member

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    Good points, thanks!
     
  6. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    In response to who?
     
  7. loonypapa
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    loonypapa Member

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    I'm going to take all of the advice here and play with this exercise some more today. I'll try to post something back later.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    If you do, I need you to take a look at the Forum Rules regarding where critique is allowed and the requirements for making use of that area.
     
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