Baby Evil Writers 101:Beginings Part One
I think every writer I have ever met started their first manuscript with their character being alone. They’re in their house, or in the bed, or standing and waiting for a bus—but they are always alone. There is a logical reason for this. It’s way harder to imagine six people in a room, their actions and dialogue than it is one.
Sometimes this works my evil darlings but mostly it makes you work harder to make your protagonist likable. When we see people in real life, we judge them by their actions , and by how they interact with others. Let’s say you’re at a park. You see a toddler trip, scrape their knee, and start screaming bloody murder.
1. The mother runs to comfort the child. She hugs him and sings.
2. The mother runs, grabs up the child, and starts screaming for help, “Call 9-1-1!”
3. The mother ignores the child and lets another mom take care of the toddler.
4. The mom snatches a first aid kit from her purse, cleans and bandages the wound, but talks on her cell the whole time.
5. The mother smacks the child and complains loudly about how much work this child is for her.
You would feel differently about the mother with each scenario. But the main point is that you would be judging her by how she reacts to her child’s injury. If a child wasn’t present, she’d just be sitting on a bench and thinking—boring.
Since we are human, and evil, we watch from the sidelines and judge others. This is what we all do. In sixty seconds we are judge, jury, and executioner. Everyone does this and they do it with your book. At most you get a page or two to interest the reader in your hero.
That isn’t much.
Put your protagonist with someone else, show how he interacts with others. Otherwise, he is just like a picture on the wall—we know what he looks like but nothing about who he is inside.