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Taking Character Risks

What kind of character risks are you willing to take?

The reason why I ask this question is because when I write, I like to push certain boundaries, see how far I could take my limitations based on the story in my head at the time. Sometimes, I look at different plot techniques to push myself further than what I’m comfortable with. For example, I would write something from three different characters’ view points when I usually construct a story shown through the eyes of only one character.

Another way I like pushing my writing boundaries is through the use of unusual characters. One character that appeals to me lately is the androgynous male or female. Someone who can play the role of both sexes flawlessly. I’ve always been attracted to the concept of androgyny. This is usually someone so good looking that you can’t distinguish if he or she is male or female. Here’s an example of what I mean:



Andrej Pejic is currently the most in demand model in the industry simply because he is different. As you saw from the video, he can flawlessly model as both a man and a woman. The masculine and the feminine are perfectly balanced in him that he’s attractive either way. It’s not just looks. There’s a charisma about him that draws you in.

Andrej is the kind of character I want to add to one of my future novels. I want to see where I can take an androgynous character. Or what happens when someone androgynous is placed into the mix. There are so many possibilities, so many creative outlets to explore. At the same time, the plot lines can be endless, along with the selection of genre. Can you imagine an androgynous character in a steam punk novel? I can. Just thinking about what’s possible excites me. As a writer, I want to keep learning, to keep evolving, to keep pushing. I want to explore all avenues and every different way I could play with a story.

What about you? Is there a character you want to see in a novel today? Or, if you’re a writer, what kinds of character risks haven’t you explored yet?

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for the comment on bookblogs Kate. Nice site here, looks like you are a hard working writer. I'm sort of just beginning to figure out what it means to be a writer with a presence like you have here. Regarding boundaries - I agree. For me, I like to push boundaries of abstraction - to experiment with how much a reader can tolerate of a dream-sequence full of big, heady, conceptual images. They expand my mind in conceiving them, and I like to challenge myself to translate them into prose that someone else can sink their teeth into.

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    1. You're welcome for the welcome, Keith. And thank you so much for stopping by. I don't think I'll ever find out what it means to be a writer. If you get some answers, please let me know. It's such a large concept to wrap my brain around sometimes. And I like your idea of dream-sequences. You're right. They can be used to inject imagery into prose.

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  2. I have to admit, I'm fascinated by androgynous or gender-fluid characters and the challenge they present not just to the reader, but to the author. Either all assumptions go out the window, or you embrace those assumptions and use them to your advantage. This is one are where SFF really excels.

    For me, as a writer, I find the unsympathetic character the biggest challenge. There's a fine line between tolerance and grudging respect, and falling on the wrong side of it too often risks losing the reader altogether.

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    1. I'm actually currently experimenting on pansexual characters in my novels akin to the ones in The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.

      And you're right about unsympathetic characters being challenges. The moment you give them a redeeming quality, they become sympathetic to your readers. And yet, how would you maintain them being unsympathetic without turning off your readers totally? It's quite a dilemma, but a good way to spice up the writing process. :-)

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  3. Andrej Pedic is so beautiful. :) You should totally write an androgyn.

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    1. Isn't he just? I feel like it'll be awesome to play around with an androgynous character.

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  4. I love the characters that push the envelope, the ones that straddle the line between good and bad--not just bad, but...BAD. I like to see what drives them, what made them that way, and how they will be redeemed !

    :)

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    1. Have you watched Sons of Anarchy? Great series that pushed the envelope when it comes to good and BAD characters. Try it out. Very interesting study on characterization.

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  5. Wowza. He's even prettier than most women. I feel slighted. LOL! Go for it, Kate!

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    1. Isn't he? I really need to write someone like him into my next novel. :-)

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  6. So nice to get a lovely welcome, thanks Kate! And thanks for this video. I'm fascinated. Andrej is the ultimate runway model, isn't he? Perhaps he'll popularize flat-chestedness and I'll have a shot as a model. Too late! As for a character in a book, ooh, lots of fun writing that one.

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    1. You're welcome for the welcome, Rossandra! And you're right, lots of fun writing someone like Andrej into a novel. I actually can't wait to get started. :-)

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