Tag Archives: characters

Review: The Indispensable Heroes of Guards! GuardS

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When a book dedicates itself to fantasy’s expendable Red Shirt Army with the witticism of a P.G. Wodehouse novel, you know you hold a diamond. When I given Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards! to read, I was a little weary to give it a try. The dull artwork of a strange looking dragon on its cover wasn’t eye catching. The summary on the back was about as appealing as a very moldy ham and egg sandwich. But, encouraged by my friend’s enthusiasm, I trudged on like a good soldier and opened the book.

Six words in, I knew I was infected.

Guards! Guards! is full of clever sentences that get right under your skin. It opens in a fictional place of Terry Pratchett’s own imagination called Discworld. Our unlikely heroes are the Night Watchmen of Ankh-Morpork who dedicate themselves to alcoholism and never running too fast lest they actually catch a criminal. It’s these four characters Vimes, Colon, Nobbs and Carrot drew me closer to the pages. I felt as though I were a part of their crew.

The plot begins when an incompetent secret brotherhood schemes to replace the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork with a puppet king of their own. In order to accomplish their evil deed, they summon a dragon using a stolen magical book and that’s when the mayhem starts. It’s up to Captain Vimes of the Night Watch and his rag-tag team to stop this dragon and restore order. My favorite character out of this crew was Carrot. Having lived his entire life in the underground caverns of the dwarves, Carrot discovers a whole new world when he steps foot into Ankh-Morpork. He volunteers with the Night Watch which we are told nobody would ever think of doing. His naive yet bold nature reminds me of myself when I moved out of my parents’ house and discovered the life of a city girl.

The voice and style of Guards! Guards! is marinated in Pratchett’s love of good British farce. A ridiculous cast of characters find themselves tangled in improbable scenarios and complications. The heroes and villains are silly enough for us not to take seriously yet so thoroughly well done they seem almost tangible. Our antagonist, the Supreme Grand Master, is a whimsical parody of an egotistical maniac driven by his hatred of humanity’s stupidity. Lady Ramkin, a potential love interest of our protagonist Captain Vimes, is overweight, hazardously confident and sharply eccentric with her fondness for dragons. The story is full of action and spotted here and there by extreme cuteness such as the scenes with the swamp dragons. Also, hidden in the text is a treasure trove of references to Hollywood films.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wishes a great read.

Dearest Pete

Memories and Characters

Over the length of this writing adventure that my book has taken me on, I’ve been startled to discover a character taking over the book. When I first began writing this thriller, Dana Marie was my main character. Her bold, energetic, and forever inquisitive personality leaped off the pages and demanded to be center stage. But gradually another character stepped before her and placed himself in the spotlight. Curiously enough, Dana has allowed him the spot.

Pete Watson. In many ways he hasn’t and has changed. His inner core; the goodness and honesty hasn’t changed. It’s his courage and strength that has. Before, he was the unwitting boyfriend of a villainess. He had the courage of a mouse. By the end of my book, the little mouse eventually stood up for himself but with the help of Dana. Without her help, he’d never be able to stand.

But now. Pete has changed. He is no longer the timid little mouse. He can stand on his own two feet. He’s taken the stage away from Dana without a fight or begging. She’s allowed him the attention because she knows he deserves it. After all, he is the hero. His and Dana’s friendship has expanded as well. Their relationship is stronger and has more depth that before.

I realize those reading this don’t have the faintest what I’m talking about. You haven’t read my book. You don’t know my characters. But hopefully you will.

I’ve read countless times posts and articles written by other authors about characters in their books. They mention how a smaller, lesser character came out from the shadows to be the main character. They’d talk about how surprised they were by a characters actions or true nature. When I read these things, I’d laugh. How silly writers are! Would be my exact thought. They talk about their characters as if they’re real. They make it sound like the character does the writing or telling of the story. They make it sound like they didn’t write the books themselves but the characters.

A famous writer once said, characters tell the story. Writers are only the interpreter. I never quite understood this until I saw for myself. Until I realized how true it is. When I started out with this book, I had a certain idea for it. I had a vision for how it would end up. Well, the original vision is far from what it’s turned out to be. Life seems to be exactly the same. You start off walking on one path in one direction. And mysteriously you wind up elsewhere!

It’s absolutely breathtaking seeing a story unfold before your eyes. Your story. It’s thrilling to hear your characters discussed in public. I’ve only had this a few times after my friends finished reading my manuscript. The characters in your book may be imaginary but they are real. They’re real as you and me. A good book draws you in by how human the characters feel. Your job as the writer is to make them feel real to the reader. Allow them to leap off the page. I really can’t stress how crazy this adventure of writing has been for me so far.

Writing: Stuck in a Scene

Brainstorming

I’m currently going through my novel that is soon to be published. And I’m stuck. Yes, I admitted it. I don’t quite know what to do. A few weeks ago, my editor returned my novel with a lot of edits and helpful advice. Her main consensus: My characters require further development. That is what I’ve been up to. It’s been going really well for the most part until now.

I don’t want to say too much and give everything away. My problem is with the father. I want to write a scene that explores his character, but I’m having difficulty. Up to this point so far in the story, he’s a workaholic who doesn’t appreciate the fact he has a daughter. I want to show why he is a workaholic and why he treats his daughter the way he does. I’m having difficulties figure out exactly how I can show this, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

I’ll just be over here endlessly brainstorming until I do.