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Friday, March 6, 2015

Virtues, Blogging, and Critiques- Candor Fridays

To everyone who has been wondering if I’m alive, I have good news for you: I am. Alive. Mostly.

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I posted! I don’t even have an excuse. I just haven’t posted. But, I’m back on schedule starting today!

And so, without further ado, this week’s (okay, all my back up from the last month) questions!

Harpley asked: What virtue (such as humility, honesty, loyalty, etc.) do you respect the most in a fictional character, (or, alternatively), do you find a specific virtue showing up in a lot of your own characters?

Okay, this on stumped me, I’m not going to lie. And, after much consideration, I’ve got an answer. Sort of.

For me, there isn’t one virtue I respect the most. Looking at some of my favorite characters, I can’t seem to find a common thread. Like, I have loved Edmund Pevensie for many year because of his humility. But then, I love BBC’s Robin Hood and I really wouldn’t apply the word humility to him. So, no, there isn’t one virtue I respect the most.

That said, I will add that for me, a hero needs a strong moral code. I am not and never will be a fan of the anti-hero. If he doesn’t have a moral code or if he does things that are immoral, I can’t respect him as a hero. I might love him for other parts of his character, but he will never be a hero to me.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily a fan of the stereotypical hero mold. I am not saying you have to do that in order for your hero to be a hero. In fact, I like heroes who challenge my moral code with their own. For instance, the hero of one of my favorite movies- Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon- does things that make me doubt he’s a hero all throughout the movie. But when push comes to shove, in the end, you realize everything he’s done is because he’s been working toward setting things right.

And then, when I look back on what he’s done, I go, “Why did I think what he was doing was wrong? He was working toward saving the day…” and I realize a lot of what I didn’t agree with is some sort of code that’s been ingrained in me that I don’t know why I believe.

So, strong moral code and the attitude of doing what’s right in the end.

And, as for reoccurring virtues I find in my characters a lot, does a good sense of humor count? Because, otherwise, again, I can’t seem to find a common theme…

Elly asked: How do guest posts work? Do you just ask someone to post on your blog? Does it have to be another blogger?

I have not actually done guest posting before, but I have read up on the subject a good deal while doing marketing and publishing research.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Usually, the blogger who wants to guest post will do the asking. Let’s say you’re blog is dedicated to fish. If there was a fish expert looking to get their name out there, they might ask if you were interested in them posting something. That way, you have content and they get their name out there. It generally is another blogger, because it gets their own blog out there when you link their post back to them.

However, this is just internet blogging we’re talking about. So, there aren’t specific rules. There is nothing wrong with asking someone to guest post. I know a lot of people would probably be glad they didn’t have to initiate. And, if they aren’t a blogger, but have something to say, then by all means, as long as you credit the writer, you can ask them to guest post.

Essentially, it’s your blog and you can do whatever you like. No one is going to judge you or gasp because you’ve committed some huge internet blunder if you don’t follow the standard method. But, normally, it’s bloggers asking other bloggers if they might be able to post something on their blog.

Doug asked: When you've been blown away by constructive criticism that you know is valid, as I was last week regarding a novela I'm writing, what helps you to rework the passage when you really think that the current rendition was good enough?

At first, I was unsure how to answer this. But, after rereading it, I discovered you answered it yourself, with the wording.

The question to ask yourself is: is “good enough” good enough for you?

As writers it’s so easy to say, “The scene was good enough as it was. Why do people want me to change it?” And, we may very well be right. The scene probably is good enough. If we didn’t make any changes it wouldn’t bring the book down or cause people to stop reading. Some people might even enjoy it.

But, it might not be the best it can be. It could quite possibly be the best scene in your book, if you reworked it. It could be people’s favorite scene or the scene that makes them love the book. It could be the scene they best remember.

Or, it could be less obvious than that. The reader might not realize it was that scene that made them want to keep reading. They might not realize how much the scene adds to the story. It might be subtle and add layers in ways you or the reader can never grasp. But, it will be there, in the back of their mind, adding something.

So, the thing we writers need to ask ourselves, when we receive criticism like this is to ask ourselves “Is good enough good enough? Or do I want this scene to be the best it can be?”

Then we bite the bullet and set to work reworking the scene we thought we’d never have to touch again.

And, there you have it faithful readers! If you have any questions you would like answered, be sure to drop me an email by next Friday!

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