Yes, yes, I know. It’s not Saturday. Well too bad. I own this blog and get to do whatever I want. The reason I’m posting this now, is because it’s important…..and I have blog posts written and scheduled for all of June and the beginning of July and I can’t wait.
I’ve been working at a remarkably good pace on the first draft of The Wolves of Wullferg Keep. It’s my best work yet, and I wasn’t the first person to say so. I’ve practically been on a high from it. I’ve never had a story that’s been so easy and so fun to write. But in my writing frenzy, I overlooked something. Something that could ruin my whole story.
The way I had written one of my characters was wrong in every single way.
One of my close friends and beta readers pointed it out to me yesterday morning. I was asking her what she thought of WWK so far, how she liked the characters. I already knew that Emily wasn’t quite right. She was a bit 2-D, unrealistic, unlikable. She was supposed to be a difficult person, but I had gone too far and forgotten to make readers sympathize with her. A big no-no for your main character.
But my friend said something that surprised me.
“I don’t like Lupe; he’s creepy.” Now, Lupe is the wolf side of the other main character, Dray. (Who’s a werewolf. Duh.) Dray doesn’t know that Lupe, his wolf, can take control of his body when he’s a asleep and roam about. Lupe has a habit of watching the moon through the window in Emily’s room, which used to be his mother’s room.
The situation was supposed to be kind of sweet. Lupe was supposed to have this very simple, almost childlike nature. His relationship with Emily was supposed to make readers go, “Awww….” when they saw how sweet he was.
But what was supposed to be written- wasn’t.
Somehow, I got horribly off track when I wrote the first scene with Lupe. Like HORRIBLY. There was nothing childlike about Lupe. There was nothing sweet or innocent about the relationship he had with Emily.
He was creepy, dangerous. There were red flags all over the place.
But I didn’t realize this for two reasons. One, I pretty much never go back and read my writing until I start editing. Two, the version of Lupe I had in my head was totally different than the Lupe of the page. Because of that, Emily’s reactions in scene were ones she would have towards the Lupe in my head. The Lupe on the page needed to be hit over the head with a candlestick.
But I didn’t know. I didn’t know and I continued on my merry little writing way, completely oblivious to the monster I had created until my friend brought it up. At first, I was unhappy. The Lupe in my head was my little precious cinnamon roll who had no idea how to behave on two legs but tried really hard anyways.
I kept trying to defend his actions, but my friend kept coming back to, “He’s just so creepy.” So when I went home, I reread the scene. And my first thought was, What. A. Total. Creep.
I managed to rewrite the scene into something SO much closer to the Lupe in my head, and was able to continue writing the next time Emily met him without writing the wrong Lupe.
My friend saved me from an absolute writing disaster, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am. So I’m telling you now, from my own experience: If a beta reader who you trust and respect has a huge problem with your story, you almost always have a huge problem with your story. And you have to be aware when you write. Don’t get caught up in the frenzy of just trying to get the words on the page; you have to pay attention to what you’re writing! And go back a reread stuff on a regular basis! I’m not saying you have to edit mistakes when you reread, but catching huge ones like a Totally Wrong Character early on will make your writing so much easier.
I hope you don’t make the same mistake I did, and I hope you all have beat readers as fabulous as mine. Until tomorrow my little wolflings.