Can you all hear me? Can you—hey, quiet down there! No, no one wants to see your battle hammer, dude. No, I don’t care that it’s in your pants. Now shut up.
Wow, there’s a lot more of you than I thought. That could be a problem. All right, I gathered you all here today because—what’s that? You hate that guy? Yes, I know. You’re supposed to. He’s one of the antagonists. Antagonists. ANTAG—the bad guy, all right? Just…look it up. When you learn to read.
Here’s the thing: you’re all imaginary. You’re the characters in the first draft of the novel I’m working on. All of you. Some of you are good guys, some of you are bad guys, a lot of you are something in between. But you all have something in common. Aside from being imaginary, that is.
You’re all too perfect.
Even those of you who are bad guys are just too fucking pat. Too on the nose. Most of you lack a certain…complexity. And that’s not necessarily your fault. You’re just new. The zero draft pass is about ideas, and that’s what you are. But now it’s time for you to become characters.
I was discussing this via text with a friend who’s in Australia, and I think she gave me the clue. Working on one of her own characters, she finally figured out why said character wasn’t working: she wasn’t broken. All characters are wounded, in some way, and that wound informs their actions. But this one wasn’t. There was no damage in her soul. Just like there’s none in a lot of you.
This can’t stand.
So, here’s what needs to happen. A couple of you are all right. You, there, the killer with the knives, you’re not bad. And you, the first level bad guy, you’re okay, too. If the two of you could just sort of go to one side…what’s that? No, you don’t have to stand by him, miss. You two are going to be spending enough time together.
The rest of you, come over here. If you’re going to stick around this story and be worthwhile, you need to be more broken. I want to see your damage. I want to feel it. And if you don’t have any, then I’m going to give it to you. Hell, some of you might not even exist after this is over. But it’s necessary. It’s for the good of the story.
Now form an orderly queue, and…
Hey, where are you all going?