Sunday, February 28, 2010

Out of Character Celebrations!

Wow! The Olympics are officially done and they were fabulous!!

We Canadians are mushy messes right now. Starting with Alexander Bilodeau, through so many terrific moments, to Joannie Rochette and finally to the Men's Hockey Team. It would have been a great Olympics if they'd won silver, but winning gold was icing on the cake. I think it was giddy relief that sent Candians in all cities into the streets to toot their car/truck horns and celebrate with their neighbours. Streets in at least 3 Canadian streets were closed due to celebrations! And then the humour of the opening ceremony - having the mime pull up the malfunctioning torch? Priceless :)

Some very unCanadian-like behaviour! And a lot of fun.

It's always interesting to see what pushes people/characters into uncharacteristic behaviour. In real life it doesn't have to work - it doesn't even have to make sense.

In our writing though, behaviour must always make sense. Our characters better have a good reason for doing something out of character. And it better be set up well! If it's not believable, our readers are going to give up on us and our story. We'd better be more believable than reality.

How do you handle it when one of your characters tries to act out of character? In the ms I've got marinating, the female MC has a major blow up moment that is totally out of character. She's under an enormous amount of stress at the time, and there's an event that triggers the blow. I think it's believable. I HOPE it's believable! Have you ever encountered a similar problem with your characters?

But, I've so enjoyed these out-of-character Canadian moments! The overload of red & white (including those mitts!) has filled us with joy & pride.

Congrats to the athletes, the organizations & the blue-suited volunteers! Thank you for so many moments to treasure. :)

60 comments:

  1. Yeah, you done good!

    A little boo hoo about hockey but if U.S. couldn't take the gold I'm glad Canada did.

    It was a great Olympics.

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  2. Yvonne - I agree - they did a superior job :)

    It was such a tight hockey game - very stressful all around. The US team handled the silver with grace.

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  3. Oh, I just love those mitts. So cute. What a fun Olympics all around. I'm happy the Canadians did so well.

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  4. Thanks Carol! I love my mitts too :)

    It was such a great Olympics for our athletes! So much fun!

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  5. Yeah and congratulations. Canada rocks. If we couldn't have the gold, I'm so glad it went to Canada. Great games.

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  6. Thanks Mason! It's been a lot of fun! What are we going to do now??? :)

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  7. It's been awesome watching the Olympics this year. I've loved me some white maple leaves and their hosting skills.

    I find I have a hard time smoothing out the seams between a character acting out of their personality. A climatic, emotional change at the end? Yeah, that one is hard for me to get across. The good thing is I know it and work harder at learning this skill.

    Have a great week!

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  8. Thanks Jackee!

    I think the key is to be aware of the change and to handle it carefully! At least I hope so :)

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  9. I think an emotional blowout for a calm character is fine as long as cracks are put in her seams all through the ms. It's fine to me to see her blow-up as long as I thought she was capable of it.

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  10. I had a friend and a student who got to go to the games. I'm jealous!

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  11. Congrats on the wins! Since I'm not necessarily nation-bound (and since Scotland ain't placing in any games anytime soon), I'm all for Canada taking the medal crown. Allez!

    :)

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  12. Yay Canada! Wonderful Olympics and those mittens are adorable. :)

    Love the line "We'd better be more believable than reality." That's so true. If someone blows up for no apparent cause in real life, we take it in stride - at least we don't tell them they're not believable. But just try to have someone erupt on the page without explanation - uh uh.

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  13. yay - what a great olympics :)

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  14. So proud to be Canadian. Great post.
    A great week to you.
    Warm regards,
    Simone

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  15. Yay Canada :-) I missed a lot of the games because of revisions (heh, I say that like mine are SO important, lol) but my husband kept me in the loop :-)

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  16. Barbara Ann - good to hear! I think all of the cracks are in place, so hopefully it's all good :)

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  17. Stephanie - I'm jealous too! A girl who worked with my daughter in the summer went as one of the blue suited volunteers. Lucky girl :)

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  18. Simon - Bien sur, allez!!

    It's odd to see so many purely Canada moments. But in true Canadian style, our wrap-up clips of the games include people of all nations :)

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  19. VR - so right! Your response made me imagine telling someone on a rant that they're not believable. Great cartoons happening in my head right now :)

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  20. Michelle - I agree! It was so much fun :)

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  21. Simone - me too! Now maybe we can get some sleep this week :)

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  22. Sara - I'm impressed. Most Canadians put their lives in kind of a holdiing pattern for the past 2 weeks. Now we'll have to pay for it and work like crazy to catch up! :)

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  23. Canadians did an awesome job! Lots to be proud of.

    When my characters act out, I try to explain WHY they're doing the thing they're doing. Could involve some backstory, so that gets messy.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  24. In my upcoming book, my MC who is normally in total control has a moment of complete breakdown and cries uncontrollably. Pressure can make anybody snap.

    And yesterday's hockey game was intense, wasn't it? Americans almost pulled it off...

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  25. YAY! Awesome game last night! awesome games period! my favorite was the pairs ice dance. beautiful.

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  26. The hockey was great! I really enjoyed the Olympics this year.

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  27. Yay Canada! Nothing wrong with a little whooping it up--we know you will all returned to your regularly scheduled humbleness soon. :-)

    BTW, sending BACK some blog love to you. Swing on by to pick up your gift.

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  28. Fun post. :) Regarding your character, it seems a super stressful situation could be something that makes someone act in a way he or she normally wouldn't, doesn't it? So it makes sense to me.

    I have something for you at my blog!

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  29. I love your enthusiasm, Jemi!

    As for uncharacteristic character behavior, I think sometimes it makes the character more real; we all do things that aren't quite in keeping with our character. But we usually have a reason for doing so. If your character has a plausible reason for what she's doing, then the reader will believe it. Good luck!

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  30. I think as long as you can nail the emotion for why a character is acting the way they are, you'll be fine. The reader will get it.

    And it was an amazing Olympics, right? Right. :)

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  31. Elizabeth - true - backstory is very dicey. I think I'm okay with my blow up because it's been built up throughout the first half of the story. Hope so!

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  32. Diane - actually pressure can be fun to watch. In a book, I'm not mean like that :) It's intriguing to see how characters handle it - or don't!

    The game was a nail biter for sure!!

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  33. Terry Lynn - you're so right - I thought the games were awesome as well. So many great moments. I loved the ice dance as well - so strong, so fluid :)

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  34. Alex - me too :) And not only because they were in my country - I love them every time :)

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  35. Laurel - whooping it up has been fun!! I don't think everyone is going to be able to settle back down very easily. :)

    Thanks - you're so sweet! I'll pop over right away!

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  36. Dawn - My character has sure been through some stress, so I think the outburst will be justified!

    Thanks so much - I'll pop on over! You're a sweetie!

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  37. E - thanks :) I think it's justified - at least I'd pop if I were her! So it should all be good!

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  38. Elana - I just hope I've nailed it! I think I've built it up well - we'll see once I take it out of the marinade :)

    Loved the Olympics!! Love it all!

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  39. Congratulations to all the athletes, indeed. Simply outstanding.

    PS. I'm sure whatever you've written, Jemi, will be just fine. In fact, more than fine. Perfect :)

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  40. Wendy - yay for them - they were really, truly outstanding :)

    You're such a sweetie, Wendy!! Thanks for the vote of confidence!

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  41. I really enjoyed watching all the events--I loved the opening and closing ceremonies. It was a sad Olympics though because of all the tragedy! I can barely watch the specials/interviews on TV without crying.

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  42. Laura - you're right. That poor luger's death was so tragic. It really was tough for everyone to deal with. So incredibly sad.

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  43. Jemi, I just realized I was logged in under the wrong account when I commented. The Laura should be Lisa and Laura. Ha!

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  44. Lisa & Laura - Got it!! I thought it was unusual when I couldn't click on the link to find out who Laura was :) Thanks for clearing it up!

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  45. I think it's wonderful that Canada is finally stepping into her zany, wild and fun self :) Have you ever noticed how we have so many really good comedians? We've got a whole lot of fun bubbling around under our friendly and polite exterior LOL!

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  46. Yes, Congrats to you and your fellow Canadians ;o)

    You know I have a blow up moment with my MC as well, I'm not sure if it's in character - think I'm still trying to figure that out, but I agree it does have to be believable ;o)

    Word Ver. equal - yep a word folks

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  47. Belle - you're so right! We Canadians are a funny bunch :) Any country who can pull off such a ridiculously silly closing ceremonies doesn't take itself too seriously. I hope no one thought that whole montage was serious! Hysterical :)

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  48. Erica - thanks :) We sure enjoyed it!!

    I'm sure you'll figure out your mc's motivation for the blow - it's fun to set the poor things up for these blows isn't it? :)

    Yay - a real word for word verification that's not an insult :)

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  49. It's curious that you posted this now Jemi, as I've been thinking about it these las few days. I think it's very interesting having a character behaving off-character in a justifiable situation.

    Or it could mean that the char is developing, discovering things about herself? Or even that the reader is getting to know deeper layers of her personality?

    Ohh, it's so fun playing with the character's psychology! heh

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  50. I worry about my characters getting too predictable over the course of a four book series so I appreciate a meltdown now and then.
    If the USA couldn't win gold I'm glad Canada did. Love our northern neighbors.

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  51. Mari - our minds are moving in sync :)

    It really is fun to play with their minds! My character starts out a bit wimpy - part of the theme of the story is her personal growth. Her blow up leads to her standing more on her own 2 feet.

    Hope it works!

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  52. Susan - so true! You need to have change and growth in a series - so meltdowns are probably a lot of fun :)

    Our countries sure have a great relationship! It's so nice having good neighbours!

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  53. I always watch the Winter Olympics. I'm from Michigan so I love snow sports. Living in Southern California now I just don't see anything like this. The Beijing Olympics were awesome too.

    Stephen Tremp

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  54. Stephen - I agree - I love all of the Olympics! I'm from a sports nutty family & we've encouraged our kids to follow in our footsteps, so we're glued to the set for the 2 weeks! :)

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  55. I loved the Olympics this year! And I've got to say, the Canadians stole the show. I don't think I've ever cried during an athletic event until I saw Joannie Rochette skate. Incredible. I love Canadians!

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  56. Natalie - me too! Thanks - I think the Canadian kids were great. Joannie was amazing - I was a bubbling mess :)

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  57. It sounds like the blowup was in-character for the situation and for the character.

    I loved the Olympics. They're fun to watch. I have to admit, though, I don't get curling. Or even why it's called curling.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

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  58. Helen - Glad it sounds in character - for an out-of-character moment :)

    LOL :) - I like curling, but it seems many people don't get it. It's called curling because of the way the rocks "curls" when you throw it. Depending on the spin, it can change direction - or curl about 6 feet :)

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  59. I think seeing our characters out of character adds a nice spice to the story. It's all a matter of shaking things up!

    Happy writing!

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  60. Tamika - so true! We wouldnl't want them to get boring :)

    Thanks!

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