confession: i don’t like my novel’s protagonist.

Disclaimer: This will be ranty and disjointed.  I can never think clearly when I’m editing.  Plus I’ve had too much coffee this morning.  (Disclaimer #2: A little clickbait never hurt anyone. *wink*)

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oh look it’s me

So I was editing my novel a few minutes ago (me??? editing??? what is this?!), and I realized that… I don’t really like my main character???

Now, granted, I’ve known that for a while, but it just now hit me.

Beta readers of this book (The Art of Letting Go, which you can learn about here because it’s been so long that I posted about it that my readers probably forgotten about it) understand this, because they know her.  (And, hey, if you’ve read it and you feel this way, let me know in the comments!)

But, just in case you don’t, here’s the gist: Daniella James is a very complicated young woman, made even more so by the fact that (spoiler) her boyfriend dies.  Killed right in front of her.  She’s already got Mommy & Daddy Issues, and those are complicated by the loss of her future and only security (which she’d wrapped up in her boyfriend).

Start out with an anxiety-ridden, pessimistic teenage girl, multiply it by a million, add a dash of cynicism, and you’ve got Danni.

I knew from the get-go that Danni would be different from my previous protag, Nikki, but I didn’t know how different.  Now, four drafts later, she’s basically Nikki’s polar opposite.  She’s rash and negative and cusses and doesn’t really believe in any kind of higher power and doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions and I honestly don’t know if we’d be friends in real life.

(Obviously she changes by the end into a more likable person, but for a good chunk of the book – the first third at least – she’s not the greatest person in the world.)

This got me thinking… why write characters that you, at best, disagree with?  Or even, at the very worst, don’t like?

The short answer is character change.

Good books thrive on conflict.  Boring books have no conflict.  Who wants to read about a static character?  Um, not me.

So if a book has to start out with a faulty character so that they’ll change for the better because of the circumstances they have to go through, bring me that character.

I’m fascinated with faulty characters.  Give me the bad boys and let me cheer for them as they’re put through trials that break their hardened shell and reveal the softer young man inside.  (I’m specifically thinking about Bender from The Breakfast Club or Jughead Jones from Riverdale.)

The other day, I watched a made-for-TV drama based on the life of Michael Glatze, a gay activist who slowly lets go of his gay identity after becoming a Christian, eventually renouncing it, taking on the identity of a heterosexual man, marrying a woman, and becoming a Christian pastor.  It. was. fascinating.  Although I thought the movie was poorly made (it tried too hard to be artistic and some of the actors couldn’t do their jobs very well because of the stilted script) and although I disagreed with some of it (both with some of the things the homosexual characters and even some of the heterosexual, Christian characters said), I’m still thinking about it.  It challenged me.  (Here’s the trailer.  Bear in mind that this movie is TV-MA for language and some sexual scenes, and I still don’t know how the director wanted to portray Michael, but you can do some Googling and read exactly what he’s said on the subject.)

All this to say, what are your thoughts on unreliable or unlikable protagonists?  Have you encountered any of these lately in movies or books?  Did they change or were they more likable by the end?  What changed?  Let’s talk!

literally nothing changes.

My sister got me addicted to some old educational videos made in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, and I’ve been watching them during my study breaks.  It’s so interesting to see how life has changed since then, but it’s also made me realize how much has stayed the same!

We’re all guilty of romanticizing the past and thinking about how great it would’ve been to live in a previous generation.  After all, at first glance (or halfway through our marathon of WWII-centered movies), they had better clothes, better manners, a more dignified vocabulary, and more respect for others… didn’t they?

Not everybody wears a suit or a dress to work or says “shan’t” anymore, but I think we’ve come a long way in some respects.  For instance, think about the racism and discrimination that went on a little over half a century ago.  Segregation was still common – a hundred years after the Civil War!  White people rioted when black teens started going to school with white children.  We still have racial problems today, but segregated bathrooms, churches, and even water fountains are (thankfully) a thing of the past.

I watched The Imitation Game a while ago, and it really impacted me – not just because of Benedict Cumberbatch (swoon), or even how much of a genius Alan Turing was.  The thing that impacted me the most was how poorly Alan was treated, simply because he was gay.  To be completely honest with you guys, I’m not sure where I stand on homosexuality (whether it’s a depraved mind issue or whether it’s an actual genetic thing – or a little of both), but I know for a fact that people are people and should be treated as such.  For the government to treat Alan so badly and deny him credit for all of the wonderful work he did and all the lives he saved and HELLO how many years of war he prevented SIMPLY BECAUSE HE’S GAY… ugh.  It’s disgusting.

Anyway, watch this video that I found about safety for girls.  The key is mostly just to apply common sense in situations, but it also shows that there were sleazy guys out there in the 60’s, just like there are today.  (And, honestly, I think girls today are safer than girls back then.  We have cell phones and pepper spray and, because of all of the rape culture information constantly going out, people have even developed preventative apps for this kind of thing.)

Be safe, kids.  And don’t romanticize the past.  You were born when you were born because God had a reason for it, and, honestly, wishing you were born at any other time is rebelling against God and saying His plan isn’t good enough for you.  Idk but I think that’s wrong.  (Just kidding.)  (I do know.)  (And that’s wrong.)  (#justsayin)

i’m being assaulted by rainbows.

So get this.  I open up my WordPress account and pull up a new post to write an awesome post about something awesome, and this RAINBOW shows up on the top of the page.  Check it out.


boom.  i mean, what the HAY???

I know about the Supreme Court ruling.  I just wasn’t going to write about it because other people are already doing such an eloquent job (including two of my favorite authors, Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper).

But because of this rainbow – and other rainbows that keep popping up on random websites I frequent – I’ll say a few words and be done.

First things first: I’m a Christian.  I believe in God and I believe that every word in the Bible is true and infallible.  I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman, as orchestrated by God at the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden.  I also think gay marriage is wrong.  Hate-comment and unfollow me all you want, but this is what I believe.  The institution of marriage, as defined by God, is too sacred to be utilized lightly and defiled by the lustful actions of homosexuals.

I don’t believe gay marriage should have been legalized.  I think the only reason it’s become prevalent in our society is because of the media – especially in recent movies and the whole thing with Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner.  Had this law been brought to the court merely thirty years ago, I don’t think it would have been passed.  After all, it was a different world then.  (Not saying that world was better… but that’s a different post for a different time.)  In this day and age, we’re told that anything and everything is okay.  All free expression is good.  (Except racism and intolerance.  People are intolerant of intolerance.)  Do what you want to do with your life.  Because YOLO.

All that said, I don’t think homosexual people are evil or anything.  They are sinful humans, just like me.  Jesus died for them, just like He did for me.  And, just like me, they are given the chance to repent and take hold of God’s grace.  Jesus says to love our neighbors.  Plain and simple.  He didn’t add, “Oh, except the homosexuals because they’re yucky.”  Neighbors = everyone.

If you’re homosexual and send me a hate-comment, I won’t rail against you.  I’m not going to argue with you.  I will – hopefully calmly – say that I believe you’re wrong and give you Bible verses that back me up.  (However, if you want to get into a theological debate, bring it on.  I’ll turn on my caps lock for ya.)

So there are my thoughts on the subject.  Take them or leave them.  I hope I’ve clearly stated my viewpoint without offending anyone (although I really don’t care if I offend anyone, just like I don’t care if I offend anyone by saying that the Yellow Jackets are the best college football team out there or that Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff should’ve gotten together).

EDIT: And I was reminded of something by the lovely Victoria that I forgot to say.  Listen up, Christians!!!  This does not mean that God is losing control of anything.  This means that our world is fallen, and our nation is fallen, and our justice system is fallen, and all of the judges in the Supreme Court are fallen (even those who voted against the law).  God is STILL on His throne and He STILL reigns and we STILL have hope in Him!  Don’t lose faith, guys.  It’s not the end of the world.  (Although it’d be nice if that happened soon…)  This ruling merely gives us more of an opportunity to stand for what we believe in and witness to others who may not have the same opinion as us.  I Peter 3:15-18 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.  For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”

Don’t lose hope.