Luck and I have always had a give-take relationship, like a karmic sword of Damocles swinging back and forth a hair's breadth from my skull. Take last week. I finished my rough draft, had a great time with friends at a fun music festival, and relaxed on Sunday while I met my writing quota for day one of NaNo.
This week my knee went out on me, I missed a day of work, the battery died on my scooter (at least, I hope that's the only thing wrong with it), and I wrote this post on the streetcar this morning. Also, there is no green tea in the break room, so I am stuck with Lipton. Grrr.. ;)
Luck enters into my character's lives all the time, usually bad luck. Of course, it only looks like luck at the time, and I later reveal it to be more than simple luck or coincidence. As a reader, giving a character too much luck-- whether good or bad-- makes me sense the hand of the author at work. Sure, bad thing happen to people in life all the time, and those people must react. While that's fine for the premise of a novel, or the initial conflict, using luck to help the characters out of trouble is an author cop-out.
A good author will take advantage of the problems they throw their characters into. Our favorite authors use these experiences to endear us to a character, to show us what they're made of, or, conversely, what characteristics they lack. That's one of the themes of the original Grimm's Hansel and Gretel-- that the children rescue themselves using their wits. It's a model that most children's stories and young adult books have tried to follow ever since, and it works for adult books, as well.
No one wants to read about characters when even the author can't be bothered to give them enough brains to get themselves out of trouble. Yet another mantra to recite during this 30 Days of Write...
“All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” ~George Orwell
I'm a YA writer who delves into urban fantasy, paranormal and romance, and who loves reading good books almost as much as writing them.
When not writing—or working—I enjoy daydreaming, drinking tea, and walking in cemeteries. I used to spend the rest of my time checking my inbox for manuscript requests, but am now proudly represented by Rosemary Stimola, of Stimola Literary Studio.