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The Magic


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This originally started in a Discussion thread on Dom's The Ordinary Us but it really bears discussion here.




Dom is one of the very best of the net authors out there.


He and a very few others are really excellent at their craft.


If you read and pay attention to what they are doing you will find that the best of the breed are geniuses at characterization. They create characters that are so real in your mind that you can see them, care about them, cheer for them and cry when they hurt. I'm not sure exactly how they do it anywhere short of witch craft.


The very best of the authors on the net are like this. They know how to create characters that in the readers mind are thinking, breathing and very, very real.


Any time I coach a young writer (or a new one- they aren't always young) I say go read these guys and pay close attention to what they are doing. How they create a setting, set a mood, present characters and reveal them to you the reader. This is where the magic is guys. If you want to write something that makes peoples hair stand up, it is your characters that will do it.


The best are a pretty short list. They are Dom Luka, Comicality, Freethinker, Dewey and Driver 9. Dom and Comsie are hosted here and both are treasures- Comsie even more so because he's still churning out stories and he's a great guy. I'll give you links to the others.


FreeThinker (Also at the same site look for Cole Parker and the EggMan)


Driver 9





They aren't the only ones of course. The list could go on for days. Our own Graeme is pretty good at it.


When you see the magic, you'll know.

Edited by jamessavik
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  • Site Administrator

When I discuss an author's characters as if they are people for a review, or I can extrapolate on their personality and how'd they react given a certain scene twist, I know I'm reading an author who has brought the people in their heads to life in mine. The creation of a plot arc and believable storyline for the characters is important to keep a reader interested, in my opinion, but if I don't care about the people striving to overcome the challenges of the story--what would be the point in reading it?

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  • 2 weeks later...

You know what bugs me in a story?

Mr. Perfect. If I were ever to meet this person, I'd probably kick his ass on general principles.

Granted: with some authors, there is some level of wish fulfillment going on but please!

I'm not going to dump on any authors- lot's of us do it.

See if you've met this asshole:

Mr. Perfect as a kid is brilliant and gets all A's. He's the perfect size, with perfect hair, with perfect bod and a perfect schlong. Of course- he get's the perfect boyfriend. He already knows more about sex than the karma sutra.

Mr. Perfect as an adult has the looks, the perfect car, the perfect job, is rich as fuck and gives money to feed starving orphans and nuns in Bogustan.

Ever meet Mr. Perfect? Of course not. He doesn't exist. If he did he would be insufferable.

Real people have problems. Real people live in the real world. Real people struggle, they have problems and issues. And sometimes they rise above themselves and overcome.


Think about how many stories you read where you encountered Mr. Perfect. Remember any? I doubt it. Mr. Perfect has nothing to teach you. You live in different worlds. Mr. Perfect doesn't worry about money or rejection or abandonment. If someone is dumb enough to leave him, they'll line up to jump in his bed! He's Mr. Perfect!

Let's talk about some imperfect characters you did remember.

Rory from Dom's Desert Dropping. Wasn't he an annoying little bastard? Dumb as a post to boot. You remember him because he was real and he grew up during the story.

Remember Arron from the same story. You remember him because he was flawed.

Or Prez from the Eggman's a New Life- you remember him because he was REAL. For a kid from the sticks of Sherman, TX, moving to Malibu, CA really was a New Life!

Or Dewey's Bryan and Pete because you wanted them to be as real and courageous as they were.

Or Scott and Joey from Driver's Falling Off a Log- they were real because they were who they were. You loved them because they were awkward little kids figuring out life.

The moral of this rant is that our characters don't have to be perfect for people to love them. In fact, the charm of many characters lies in their flaws.The ones that we remember are the ones who grow and overcome as we watch.




From my blog...

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Ah, the ol' Mr. Perfect. He has problems, you just forgot them ;)


Things that make characters more real to me aren't mind-sets they show, although they are quite important. A fictional Mr. Perfect comes to life when one or a few of those things also occur:


- they have physical flaws (being clumsy or having asthma for example)

- they miss abilities they should have (a rich guy in love with fast cars but without a license because he can't get left and right light signal right)

- they suck at something some normal people suck at (fashion sense or recognition of labels for example)

- they have real limitations to fight against (IRA! IRA! or some other kind of actual government thing, like problems with the law that actually hinder them)

- their arch enemy isn't after them because of their sexual preferences or because they are secretly in love with them, but for some actual reason anyone else could understand (for example, "hey, he did something really cruel to me that ruined my life, and he isn't sorry")


But the other side also sometimes is a bummer. Where Mr. Perfect isn't perfect, their love is. An arrogant, filthy rich bastard with no redeeming quality but good looks and a soft spot for their love always finds that one single person who has his Zen down to boot, is a saint with other people and poor (and hard working) because of no fault of his own.

And because Mr. Right loves Mr. Perfect, Mr. Perfect realizes he has a soft side, and it blossoms. Happy End!


The more I think about it, the more I think that there is so much to building a "living" character, a few posts won't ever cover everything :)

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Ah, but Mr. Perfect is such a nice guy! So much so that he inspired me to write one of my favourite short stories: My Roommate's Gay :P (shameless plug).


Seriously, though, I agree. I like characters that are human, and that means flawed. Some are more flawed than others, but everyone has faults. Mr. Perfect's fault is that he's always right... 0:)

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