Monday, June 10, 2013
Know your characters: a control freak's opinion on editors
Being a control freak has its advantages and disadvantages but sometimes the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. You can't put on blinders. Sure after countless re-readings and proofings and all that, you are sure this is the best it can be, then...a full page of edits on each page comes into your email box.
But I'm going over each line and I can see where the book is tightening up. And I didn't realize how often I use exclamation points that were totally unnecessary.
But the one thing that I learned today is to really know your characters before you publish your book. So today, my editor (her name is Cheryl Malandrinos look her up she is terrific) told me that I should add some kind of description to a flamboyant makeup artist named Renaldo that's in the first chapter.
Rodger Hawthorne, one of the main characters in the book, is in his dressing room at the Unusual Propositions show in New York. In walks his makeup artist and Cheryl made me realize that just "saying" he was flamboyant might not be enough. When you picture someone "flamboyant," you automatically picture this gay dude with loads of makeup and hands flying as he is talking, right? So now I've got to go in and add a description and wouldn't it have been helpful if I already knew what he looked like? Holy Mary of Jesus, that's a big no no not to know your characters - all of them even the minor ones.
So...I thought I'd do a search in Google to see if an image would pop up that would give me an idea on how to put this. Okay, here's a good one:
THAT'S IT! Prince!!! So he's a young black dude with loads of makeup and I Dream of Jeannie clothes, mainly purple.
Okay back to the drawing board, or writing board, and create a description for Renaldo.
But you see how this could have saved time if you already knew what your characters looked like?