UNLIKABLE CHARACTERS

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What is the deal with people these days? They want us to believe that everybody is a drug addict looser who is so awful you don’t want to even look at them. They portray men as wimpy feminine sissies who are incompetent and woman are selfish evil reptiles with nothing on their minds but sex and hate.

What are we letting them turn our heros into? I won’t stand for it and neither should you. There is nothing good on TV anymore, they show us something that has a sliver of interest, then you get to know the characters and you become disappointed and detached.

What is the problem? Well, that’s simple. Everybody in almost every story of this age has become completely unlikable. They will argue that people have to have flaws. Okay, I get that. What is with all the drugs? Has everyone become some kind of lawless hack that has no talent and can do nothing but be disgusting? NO! But that’s what they want us to believe.

Ever notice that anything that sparks your imagination gets canceled and any shallow piece of garbage that you have no interest in goes on for years before someone wakes up and strips it away?

Even your villains should have something that makes you like them. What is the point of writing about such horrible creatures that no one could possibly like? If you pronounce your “ing’s” at the end of your words and are clean and sober they say you’re all high and mighty. The truth is that those sick people are just weak. I don’t want to read a book or watch a TV show or movie about such pathetic idiots.

I will not step down and be weak because that’s the common decision. Neither will my characters. You should love your characters, even the bad guys. Your hero’s need to be bigger than life. Your villains need to have a reason for being.

Would Batman still become Batman if his parents were not murdered by a mugger? Probably not. Give your characters a reason why they act the way they do.

The men and women I write about are powerhouses who effect everything around them. They are soulful and alive, with dreams and aspirations. They are who I want to be, how I want the world to be. You can be anyone, do anything. So why can’t your characters?

Death to unlikable characters! BOO! We don’t need them, I don’t want them. I understand having one or two in a story but not all of them. That just sucks the life out of you and makes you not want to watch, read, or write them.

Have some courage and just be yourself. Let your characters do the same. If every character in every story was nothing but a mass of flawed mess, why would we ever want to read them? Not every man is a sissy and not every woman is a soulless bovine. Don’t let them ruin our heros.

DON’T LISTEN TO LAZY WRITERS!

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Unfortunately there are some authors who are lazy and really don’t care anymore. They will say things like: “I never describe my characters. I leave that for the imagination of my reader.” OR “I never describe my environment because I want the reader to picture the story anywhere in the world.”

The above is what I like to call a big unhealthy load of lazy writing. Don’t listen to these people. They are obviously dead inside. You can call them out on it and say, you don’t describe these things because you can’t picture it.

The market of Independent authors is full of people who just don’t even want to try, which makes it harder for the rest of us. I urge you to imagine your characters and locations.

I don’t know what your method is when you write but My story unfolds in my mind like a movie. I see very vivid scenes and people who are alive and struggling in the world. You should feel like these characters are important to you. These places have to mean something to these people you are breathing life into. They live in that world, give them somewhere to exist.

These lazy writers will tell you to only use “he said, she said,” as dialog tags. That is incredibly boring. I don’t care for those kind of books. That tells me that the author couldn’t be bothered to imagine their characters actually speaking or what their mannerisms would be. What a snore-fest.

They will tag all these stupid rules onto your art with no purpose other than to draw a line in the sand. Your words are a warhead, blow up their sand into oblivion, having the whole beach rain down over their lazy heads in white hot sandy grains and jagged shards of fire forged glass.

When I am creating a character, I will often type in a description and download a picture of a stranger from the internet. I will look at their face and decide what kind of person they are. Then, I will look at cities, pictures of towns, bus stations, busy streets, and create their environment. You need the steam rising from the manholes. The grey sky smothered in gathering clouds. You need the faceless strangers, heads down, pushing through the traffic, just trying to get to work. It’s our world, don’t let lazy writers take it away from you.

Write it once, edit it forever!

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Being a self publisher is a lot of hard work. You have to pay for everything yourself. If there is a single mistake in your creation, it is all your fault. In the end game, there is no one to blame. You have to own it. You have to edit it.

That being said, creating the book is the part most people pull their hair out at. I love that part, sometimes I can’t sleep for days. Every moment is spent thinking about the next scene and note jotting, plans of how I can slip in secret messages for the crafty reader.

The most horrid and vile part of this business is finding out you missed something. There it is, up on amazon, or where ever you publish. Your cover looks great. You have a published author who wrote your prologue as a favor. It has so much promise. It’s shining like a star on the world wide web. You decide to give it a read, and oh the horror. There on the first page, you have a lower case letter after a period. How did that little sucker get in there?

It happens to the best of us. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read loaded with mistakes, even large publishing companies have some slip through the cracks. It is the stuff that keep us up at night. My god, we are all just a bunch of souls trying to find relevance.

So we found that mistake, what do we do with it? For an ebook writer, that’s easy. We edit the original document. What does that entail? Simple, we read that whole manuscript from the title page to the last line in the document. Biting our nails and swearing like sailors the entire time. Some of us who have a little bit more money may take this time to think about buying a new computer. If your files are safely tucked away on a usb stick, feel free to pull out your club, and or katana blade and destroy your computer. It’s always great to upgrade!

We read each line like it is the only thing in existence, researching our grammar and punctuation, just incase. Rewriting the lines we thought that were extinguished from mediocrity. Besides, we want every word to shine like a sparkling jewel, don’t we? I like to add descriptive lines I call ‘poetry’ to my action.

So we have exterminated the evil black marks in our book other people call MISTAKES, what next? Here comes the great part. Go into the settings of your bookshelf. Re upload just the manuscript over the other one. You’re done, the terrible goblins are dead, we have liftoff, you’re cooking with gas. All this awful darkness is behind you.

What have we learned? EDIT, EDIT, EDIT! Will it ever happen again? If you are a bit of a loner like I am and you don’t really have much in the ways of a good reading group, the chances point to YES. Don’t lose sleep over it. Just do what we do in life. Fix your problem and move forward.

Thank you,

Ivan Desabrais.

Missing Children

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I don’t have any children, maybe one day. This subject of abused children hits us all. They are the future of this world and we need to let them know that. Most people, including myself, couldn’t dream the nightmare that parents who have lost their child live with everyday.

For anyone who has read my work knows that I write about powerful female characters and real men who strive to make a difference in a world they’re trying to change. A lot of us dream about changing the world for better and fighting for a noble cause. We are rarely presented with a chance to do so.

We are putting food on the table, working, hustling. Everyone has their eyes on the prize and is striving for success. There is no time in this world for anything personal. Stress and anguish, body pains, the list goes on, killing our spirits. We are a world filled with hungry, tired, striving people of all race, color, and background.

Our children are in danger. There, I said it. We forget sometimes, surrounding ourselves with illusions and things that make us FEEL SAFE. Sometimes the real world creeps in and disturbs us. For most of us, that’s everyday. It happens to our children too.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING, leads to MISSING CHILDREN, A hurtful subject. A lot of families have been destroyed by the darkness in others. The thought that our children are not safe in their own room is terrifying. We lose our loved ones everyday. No matter how much time passes, THAT is not something you can overcome. It is a hell on this earth that dwells out in the open and we are powerless to protect ourselves and those we love.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where it is thought better to coddle and shield our kids from the ugly truths of our society. We over censor, we are obsessive and worry until our hair falls out and in the end, we learn that our children are not safe.

There are families out there who are destroyed by pedophiles, psychos, slave traders, and incompetent people every day. We don’t understand why it happens but it does. Nothing is sacred anymore. We’re not safe at school, at our parks, or at home in our own beds.

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School isn’t safe: http://www.wmctv.com/story/16113018/family-still-grappling-with-loss-of-child-killed-in-school-parking-lot

Your home isn’t safe: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/oct/28/experience-car-stolen-baby

The neighborhood park isn’t safe: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/05/13/cops-andrew-burrous-9-struck-and-killed-in-floral-park-by-teen-driving-getting-driving-lesson/

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In my stories, I often touch on the subject of the slave trades. There are people out there who look at the person next to you and put a dollar sign on their heads. People are going on vacation and not coming back. This is a serious thing and most are clueless to the happenings.

There are so many dangers that plague our minds every moment of every day. We are living in a world where people are stopping their cars at green lights, not paying attention to anything around them. Are we at the point where the bulk of our race just don’t care about anything?

Nothing seems to work anymore. Our children see more now than we did growing up. We can’t hide them away and lie to them about the world. What’s the right thing to do? We have to educate them. Teach them to defend themselves, to know the signs of danger. We have to give them the tools to survive.

 

Thank you for reading,

Ivan D.

Authors, The Ritualistic Creature

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What complicated creatures we are. Most don’t even know it, but we practice rituals every day. Each person is different but they carry their little ticks and oddities with them where ever they are. Some rise early, have to have that tea, coffee, etc… Maybe you have to have your theme music playing. Often, and especially when I’m stuck in a story, I will listen to music, any kind really. Some kind of sound that speaks to me and says, ‘Ivan, this is the scene, quick, write it down before it’s gone.’ That’s how it feels doesn’t it? We are like photographers trying to catch a moment before it slips a way.

Some of us need to be around people, we get in our cars, on the bus, or walk to where ever it may be. We plant ourselves near them, the norms, the ones who are out there struggling, living their surreal lives. They are fighting to climb the corporate ladder, or maybe driving a cab. We gotta watch them.

Our friend the notebook in hand, coffee close by. We wait, capturing that moment. Maybe that beautiful woman, she’s mature, but strong, glowing with power, striding through the street and the sea of flesh parts for her because in her world, she is god. We need these people, they drive us, they are part of the ritual.

Sometimes, we can be deep. I find that a lot of people have lost that spiritual connection to their words. Our voices are power. We need to collect the mana that thrives in our cities, in our little towns, in our schools, our businesses, we need that life essence, that force that connects us all to breath into our characters and make them real.

My eyes open, sometimes it’s still dark. I roll over and take a look at the red numbers on my clock, a little blurry but they soon form. It’s four AM. What the hell am I doing up? I roll over and toss and turn until somewhere between six and seven thirty. My many little worlds on my mind. Will I work on Lasalle’s story today? Maybe Carver, the Bounty-hunting cowboy, out for revenge. Perhaps I will try my hand at something new, always so exciting.

Nice shower, a little colder than I’d like but it will wake me up. Catch up on a little news while I devour my cereal and the coffee brews. What is it about that brown nectar. I don’t drink it every day, nor do I have more than half a cup but it’s part of the ritual. I let the dog out, by the time I come in, it’s time for coffee. Two sugar, three cream, sometimes just hot and black. I take that cup down to the office, my Mac beaming back at me. Then there’s that first sip, is it good? Too sweet? Bitter? No, perfect.

It’s a proven fact that it doesn’t really do much to keep us awake, some can sleep right after having a cup. It’s that smell, that texture, that sinful little desert in a cup. It does something to me, it says ‘Time for work.’

If my brain is still foggy I hit Youtube and type some keywords from my story to see what kind of music comes up, any genre, I don’t sway to one specific sound, music for me is like souls talking to each other, the artist to the listener. Sometimes I can pull an image, or a mood from the song, it sets my tone.

My word-processor comes alive and my fingers dance across the keyboard, perfect. Lasalle is a fun character to write, her power, her naive mind forging like a great Japanese sword-master. Her gun ready, her heart on her sleeve. She tries to be sly and save the world. She cares that much that she would risk all for you and me.

Our rituals prepare us to enter another state of mind, they free us from the mundane and take us into that place we need to reach to see everything. They open the third eye and magic begins to flow, our passion rises like a burning white fire up from our bellies, and we blow it like majestic dragons over our blank screen or in our tattered notebooks finding that peace, that nirvana we all search for. In those hours that hole that’s in us all is full, that empty ugly spot has light and it’s shining bright for all the world to see.

Where would we be without our rituals? We are ritualistic creatures.

Character Realization & Story Creation

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First off, let’s start by saying you can’t have one without the other, character/story. The two go hand in hand. Your character should tell a story just by looking at them. What does your character say to you? Most people will tell you to write down crazy things like what’s their favorite kind of birthday cake. Don’t do it. If you realize your character, they will tell you when the time is right.

Building a character is a lot like getting into a relationship. There will be things you like about them, things you don’t. You won’t know them very well in the beginning. They may have some secrets you don’t know. Annoying habits that bother you may pop up. Just go with it. Breathe life into them and let them live.

We are living in a time when our stories have a serious problem, UNLIKEABLE CHARACTERS. How often have you read a book or watched something you invested your time into and the writer(’s) go and make the main character completely unlikable. It happens. You gotta wonder, what the hell are they thinking?

During character creation or realization, its your time to shine. So do it, burn bright. Make those ‘mains’ bigger than life. I know what you’re doing right now. You’re rolling your eyes and saying to yourself, well thanks Ivan, HOW do I make my characters bigger than life? At that point I kiss my teeth at you and let out a hot breath. “Easy,” I say, “Come with me.”

We are getting in a hummer limo and cruising down the streets of a big city. The long sleek machine is beaming the streetlights off the diamond black paint job that makes the boxy body sparkle like a dark jewel. I signal the driver, Who just happens to be me in a disguise. Yes I can be in two places at once. Focus here.

I turn and ask you:

“Ever meet someone who had an interesting habit? or maybe they say an interesting  phrase a lot? Perhaps they had an intriguing look that you filed away in the back of your brain. No? Look over there.”

You see a strong confident woman. You can tell she’s strong by the way she carries herself, head up, shoulders back. She doesn’t walk, she strides. Her calves are showing, see that hard muscle there? Yogalates (Yoga-Pilates) body. Her gold mane flowing in the winter breeze. Her breath of war, streaming out in a ghostly white from the crisp air. Her long black boots crunching the snow beneath her feet like a viking denizen. Look, she’s getting into a dark and mysterious car. You don’t know what kind? She’s passing us, look at the emblem. Hmm, foreign to this place. Maybe a Maybach, not a bad way to spend a couple mil.

Who is this person? What does she do? Notice how we can change her attire just a little bit? Maybe her ankle length jacket swayed open and on her hip was a gun. Of course that gun was something cinematic like a desert eagle, all chromed out. That’s some serious bullet candy for someone into Yogalates.

Maybe she doesn’t even live around here. What if that’s not even her car? What if the real owner is in the trunk and she just emptied their bank accounts?

Boom! We have a story. All great stories start with a great character. See how we can flesh her out more. This story is writing itself. Very little was put into it. You have to pay attention to everything going on around you. You’re missing pieces of your work every day.

At this point we are flying over the city. I know, you’re freaking out. “Ivan, I didn’t know you could fly.” Stop stating the obvious, of course I could fly. It’s my page, here I can do anything. Here I say the word orange, and the sky is orange. Here I say rain, and it rains. That’s how this game works, so why bother thinking so small and making flat unlikable characters?

I look at a story as a series of questions and answers and now so do you.

Ivan Desabrais

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