One of my favorite bloggers, Kristen Lamb, recently shared a post about plotting inner demons in your writing.
But I don’t write about exorcisms, you say. Well, I don’t either – or at least I haven’t yet – but that’s not what she was referring to.
What Kristen, in her awesome writing brilliance, discussed was plotting your characters in a believable way. In other words, if someone is an alcoholic in your story, having that character talking or whining about their addiction all the time is going to bore your reader. To tears.
The best writers know how to illustrate a problem in glimpses without overwhelming or annoying their readers. If you’ve ever met someone or know someone who gripes about their problems – even if that problem is truly horrible – all day, then you probably try to avoid that person whenever possible. If on the other hand you know someone who has acted out of character, has had alcohol on their breath, and over a period of weeks they break down and tell you they have a drinking problem, you’re much more likely to feel sympathetic.
One of my favorite writers, Nora Roberts – especially when she writes suspense as JD Robb – is perfect at this. Her main heroine, Eve Dallas, is portrayed up front as a hardass cop. She’s intelligent, shrewd, and fabulous at catching the bad guys. But… she’s plagued with nightmares. Not just the kind you wake up from and within a minute drift back off, but the kind that make you scream and sob in your sleep. Over the course of her series, we learn more and more about Eve and why she has these nightmares – she is a victim of some horrific child abuse. But Nora doesn’t have Eve go around complaining about her past, not ever. Instead, Eve deals with it the best she can, and only in brief little spurts of memories or flashbacks do we see the real damage done to her.
When I first starting writing, plotting was – and still is – the hardest thing for me. I’m not one to sit down and write out a twenty page outline, but I know what I want to happen. Still, one mistake I used to make all the time was explaining how my characters felt instead of showing how they felt. I also tended to drone on about it for far too long. Characters facing their inner demons is kind of like back story, you need to dribble in a little bit here and there, not all at once.
Since I love to write drama, angst and inner demons, I’m also drawn to writers who are really good at writing it. Do you like reading about characters with inner demons? If so, who is your favorite author(s)? Tell us in the comments below! 🙂
Want to learn more about the Sisterhood of Suspense?
Sign up for our NEWSLETTER.
Contests… Giveaways… Books on Sale… New Releases… and Feature Articles!
All in one spot. Come join our writers’ and readers’ community.
We guarantee you a deadly connection.