Tag: protagonists

protagonists

The Non-Feel Good Novel

One of my favorite novelists is Herman Koch because he makes me consistently uncomfortable. The first book I read from Koch was The Dinner. The novel’s POV protagonist, Paul Lohman, starts off as a pretty likable guy. He has some issues, a few stray thoughts that would give most people pause, but doesn’t everyone? Who hasn’t thought something that they would never say aloud? Who hasn’t laughed at a friend’s off-color joke?   As the story goes on, however, it becomes clear that Paul’s naughty thoughts are much more than one-offs. By the book’s end, I felt a bit guilty that I had liked Paul at the start. That guilt made the story stick with me even though the ending wasn’t one to revel in and the characters weren’t people whom I would ever cheer for in real life. I like my good characters with a healthy dose of bad. To me, that makes them complicated, and complexity makes people human. I’m not alone. How could Breaking Bad have been so successful if plenty of people weren’t willing to root for Walter White? Still, not everyone feels this way. When I wrote The Widower’s Wife, some readers didn’t like the fact that my main character, Ana, contemplates […]

Read More

Candy! Candy!

The protagonist of my new mystery is a woman who likes to eat candy bars. (Don’t ask me how I know. I do.) She’s the sort of person who keeps a candy bar in her pocketbook for times when she has low blood sugar. She’s the sort of person who has a favorite candy bar, and I have spent a great deal of time, energy and calories trying to figure out which particular candy bar that would be.      I was going to go with a classic. M&Ms. I like them myself, but I thought there were too many of them. For my purposes, I needed something you could take a big bite out of. Skittles were also out, for that reason and also because they took on political connotations I didn’t like. Butterfingers were too crunchy, Milky Bars too soft.  Then I stumbled across  the Take Five bar. It’s an intriguing candy. First of all, it has a jumble of flavors: pretzel, caramel, peanut, peanut butter and milk chocolate. My protagonist is definitely a person who likes jumbles. She mushes her food (I think). She likes jumbles of people too. In fact, one of the things that gets her in trouble is that she befriends […]

Read More

In Praise of Difficult Women

I like difficult women. Females unafraid to say exactly what they are thinking. Girls willing to bend the rules to do their version of the right thing. Strivers. Overachievers.People who will go to battle for what they want and who they love.  I like sensitive women. People who get insecure and jealous and angry and sad–the host of negative emotions that we all feel at some point and, too often, are encouraged to compact into our guts and cover with a smile.  Above all, I like complicated women. The kind of people who can be forthright, giving and kind in certain situations, but have days when stress makes them dismissive, selfish and dishonest–maybe even with themselves. I like women with chips on their shoulders and things to overcome. Vengeful and forgiving. Kind and selfish. Open-hearted and cagey.  These are the women that I write. And, they’re not always likable.  There is much debate over what makes a heroine in thrillers. Should the good girl be someone with whom the largely female book reading audience can root for the whole way through? Should she be a paragon of morality that has to fight through a dire situation? Or, should she be an amalgamation of positive and negative qualities? The kind […]

Read More

Recent Posts

First pages.
  • February 13, 2019
First lines.
  • February 12, 2019
Lots of counting in writing
  • February 11, 2019
How Do You Even Brand?
  • February 8, 2019
Left Coast Party
  • February 7, 2019
The Power of Yes
  • February 5, 2019
Embracing My Brand
  • February 4, 2019
How to Deal with Change
  • February 1, 2019

Search By Tags