My New Project- Sex Addiction & Frustratingly Flawed Characters

Hello, dear friends! I’ve been painfully amiss in updating this website, busy as I’ve been with a couple seasons chasing tortoises in the desert, getting an agent (a completely amazing agent! Still so excited!), and writing my trilogy, Sex, Love and Rock and Roll.

Last you heard from me, I was writing a little story about a girl with sexual dysfunction falling in love with a nude model. I talk all about Jera and Jacob here. The thing about Jera is that she’s a drummer in a band, and the thing about me is that I can’t write a simple secondary character to save my life. So *surprised face* my stand-alone turned into a trilogy when the rest of her band members came to shouty, three-dimensional life and started demanding stories of their own, slick with sex and thumping with music.

Now I’m on the third book in the series, struggling through trying to explain the journey of a lead singer, Jax, who turns himself inside out to please everyone around him, but is crippled by his addictions. First to drugs and drinking, and later, to sex. He’s a billboard-worthy hearththrob who can’t stop organizing his kitchen cabinets for maximum efficiency, who just wants everyone around him to be happy and get along. But life is rarely so kind. He falls for another chart-topping musician, the chain-and-snake draped superstar, Ava. She too, wishes she were as perfect as the airbrushed images of herself in magazines, and she and Jax bond over the darker parts of themselves that they can’t share with their screaming fans. Let’s pause a moment for some sexy pictures of Jax and Ava.

Ava Jax

The story is a great challenge for me, in writing two people so very different from myself, and over and over again as I write, I find myself scared that no one will like my characters. Will people just think Jax is a heartless slut with his only brain operating below the belt? Or will they see what he’s really like:

Jax and Maya

Will they think Ava is a self-centered diva?

Ava on stage

Or will they see the side of her that Jax does, without me having to write it in bold letters and too-pointed dialogue?

Ava vulnerable

Real people rarely unspool all their true selves at first meeting, and I want my books to be the same. I want to be able to SHOW my characters without forcing them to reveal all the cards in their hand at Chapter 1. But how to be sure that my readers are seeing what I’m seeing? How to be sure that I’m doing my best to turn so many strangers’ perceptions in the right direction?

This story is going to be a tough one for me, but I’m keeping my (well-chewed) nails on the keyboard, hoping I can do justice to these flawed, so very vulnerable characters that live in my head. I’d love to hear from other writers as I continue through this process, though. How DO you balance subtlety with clarity? How to make someone sympathetic, even when they’re not always kind?

2 Responses

  1. Mrs. Smith

    Hi again,

    I am anxious to read all these books about the band now. I got a taste from your other post and now with this I’m excited that there is more.

    Perhaps your readers will see all the images you posted above when reading about them but what matters is that the reader is into what they are reading. I’m not sure about your specific stories but when I read that this person is coming off like an asshole I don’t usually stop reading. I keep going in the hopes I’ll see their better side and have a better idea about what makes them act like an asshole randomly. I find that in real life that’s the case. I can be nasty mean sometimes and it sucks if someone new only saw that and didn’t stick around to see my actual self not just that bad moment. With the exception of physical abuse I think a character can get away with a lot and still be redeemed in a story. That’s just me though.

    Good luck and please keep at it. I personally will read everything from an author I like. Whether I’m into the storyline line at first glance or not because I like to support authors I admire. I also always assume I’ll enjoy their book because I already know I like their way of writing. 🙂

  2. If you want to show a character’s certain traits (like what a badass Mitch Rapp is), I find it best to do from anothet character’s view or response to them. It works even if the main character isn’t in the scene; you can have two others talking about him and show how frightened one is. Or show your character doing something maybe altruistic when no one is around, especially if he’s usually the opposite, and he becomes more complex. Then again you could set up a good character to have a flaw – she mistreats her dog, for example, to set up a revelation later. Just my two cents 🙂

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