Tag Archives: characters

Update on the Splayed Novel

As you can see from the picture, my organizational system for keeping track of the plot of my novel is getting unwieldy. (For comparison, see the picture in this post). On the plus side, I am one tenth of the way through! The trick now is to not bog down in the middle part, but to keep my excitement going all the way to the end. I can’t believe I wrote a novel in eight weeks once, it seems to be taking a lot longer this time around.

For fun, I’m going to look at some of the tropes I’m planning to use. Go ahead and see if any of the tropes seem familiar to you (from other books, movies, etc.) “Tropes” are devices used by writers as a kind of storytelling shorthand, usually because of audience familiarity with that type of story (yet tropes are not clichés – click the link for more explanation). All trope descriptions listed below are from TvTropes.org, and are linked to the specific page.

The plot of the novel probably falls under the heading of “Romantic Comedy.”

1.) Heroes Want Redheads

From TvTropes: “Love Interests have always been Color Coded for Your Convenience. Traditionally, the hero’s significant other would usually be a blonde, to contrast with the brunette Vamp or Femme Fatale. But today, the passive Distressed Damsel have been replaced by a sassy, bold, brash, sharp-tongued heroine — easily compatible with the “spunky Fiery Redhead” stereotype.”

–       I was going to make my main character blond, but then I realized I’ve written tons of blond main characters (possibly because I am blond?) But I want her looks to indicate she’s popular with the guys – think Cheryl Blossom in the Archie comics. Ellie doesn’t quite fill the whole trope description though. While she’s a bit sassy, she’s more bubbly than sharp-tongued, though she does love to take down the Insufferable Genius (see below) a few pegs…

2.) Single Woman Seeks Good Man

“Frequently they’ve been burned by a previous lover; and generally they’ve matured. But it is not necessary. Any heroine who finds the hero attractive exactly for his more admirable qualities falls under Single Woman Seeks Good Man. This can range from liking his sense of humor, to appreciating his poetry skills, all the way to his Heroic Sacrifice.  Immature and hormonal souls may wonder What Does She See in Him?, but the heroine is much more likely to end up happy this way.

–       This is Ellie. She’s gone out with a string of jerks, and just wants to meet a good guy. She hasn’t exactly matured yet though…

–       She was attracted to her last boyfriend, Leroy, because of his “Good Man” qualities. Unfortunately, that relationship is currently on the rocks. Just one part of why Ellie’s life is currently spiralling downhill…

–       The “immature and hormonal souls” in my story are the rest of the “Good Man’s” friends, excepting the “Insufferable Genius,” who has other problems.

3.) Insufferable Genius

“At first glance, the Insufferable Genius appears to be exactly the type who’s doomed to learn a lesson: he’s very talented, knows he’s very talented, and doesn’t mind telling you repeatedly what a talented person he is. But the difference between him and your standard loudmouth is that he really is that good, and when placed in a difficult situation he can actually work his way out of it — so maybe he does have a right to brag…”

–       Writing this character amuses me. I didn’t know pretending to be a know-it-all could be so much fun. No wonder insufferable geniuses do this.

–       This trope leads to another trope known as Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness – using long words. Finally, a chance to use the words in my vocabulary that make other people stare blankly at me!

–       The Redhead, Ellie, drives my Insufferable Genius up the wall. He can’t figure out why his roommate ever went out with her…

3.) Nice Guy

–       This is Ellie’s last boyfriend, Leroy. His “niceness” is why she likes him.

4.) Those Two Guys

“Two characters, usually in a school setting, to be the mundane Greek Chorus. They may or may not be snarky, but they are completely ordinary. Often the best friends of the main character.”

–       To round out my group of friends are a couple characters (actually three, not two) who could be described as “Those Two Guys.” You know, just to fill up the empty spaces. They might get filled out a bit more, or get some minor subplots, or get cut entirely by time I finish. We’ll see.

–       They are useful for snarky insights into the main characters, though.

5.) The Power of Friendship

–       Can Ellie remain friends with the group, when her relationship with Leroy, might very well be over?

6.) Perpetual Poverty

“Despite always being desperate for cash, food or other supplies, some people never seem to actually run out. They might always be desperate for money, but somehow manage to live in the same house for the duration of their story, never getting kicked out once. Or they might always complain about being hungry but never starve.”

–       Another one of Ellie’s problems

So there you have it, a very brief idea of what I’m working with. Hopefully this will be enough to pull me through the other nine tenths of the novel! What about you, are there any projects you are currently working on?


Filed under On Writing