Characters that surprise

I’m not a regular viewer of the British TV series TORCHWOOD but this week I was glued. Why? Well, aside from spotting James Marsden (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) taking a turn as Captain John Hart, I happened to turn on at an interesting spot.

I could see a fight was coming – Captain Hart was drinking alone at a bar and then Captain Jack (the shows hero) comes through the bar doors. It had all the hallmarks of the westerns I endured as a kid. Except – the hero and villain kissed, and then they had the fight.

torchwood 1     torchwood 2     torchwood 3

That was definitely not what I expected to happen and the novelty of being surprised kept me glued for the remaining episode (apologies to the RWA Friday Night chatters). Even now, that scene has me grinning and I realise that the stories I love the most have complex characters acting outside the norm.

We all want to surprise our readers but can you think of the last book you read, or wrote, where a character did something that really threw you?

The last story I read that totally surprised me was an upcoming release from Jerrica Knight Catania, For the love of a Viscount, where the hero asked the wrong question. I think I yelled at him. *grin*

Shameless self promotion encouraged!

Times a wastin’

Blogs, facebook & twitters are messing with my life. There is so much information coming in that very little solid writing is getting done.  I have some exciting stories to write and more keep popping into my head when I sit still for longer than ten minutes.

At the moment I can write pretty much full time but I’m finding the distractions of the internet really hard to resist. The need to network, research sites to visit, and of course checking out the cabana boys the RWA Australia chickies like to flaunt uses up a lot of valuable writing time. But hot bodies won’t increase the word count.

So what can?

The answer is GOOGLE READER.

I currently follow 41 blogs by subscription. I know its too large a number of blogs to open on a daily basis. I already had an account with Google and under the “more” tag I found this nifty little helper. When you subscribe to a blog, Google Reader will list all posts by reverse date order (so you see the newest at the top).  All I have to do each day is click on the top one, read, then click next until all the new blogs are viewed.  I’m done without fuss and with far less time wasted while the blog pages update.

It’s a great way to manage my blog surfing. Have you found anything similar elsewhere?

The end of a character

Last time I blogged about character development. I wondered how the children I know now would grow as they become adults. When you’re young you have so many choices before you. You can be anything you want to be and nothing can stop you but your own mind.

As a writer we dream a past and future for our characters. We grow to love them, even the evil ones, and plot out their lives. We hold the power to make their lives wonderful or miserable. Long or short.

I joked this morning to a critique partner who was after feedback that when in doubt she could consider killing  a character. That death could have caused huge conflicts between the hero and heroine, guilt and relief. It might make the story better and the happily ever after sweeter. It is not a joke I will ever make again.

There is no happily ever after today. Not when a boy was sixteen, had his whole life ahead of him but by a foolish choice deprived himself of a happily ever after. Youth, speed and trees end a life.

RIP Ryan.