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The Hungry and the Beautiful

a blog by Neharika Gupta

  • Writer's pictureNeharika

Writing Challenge Day 2: I found a flaw, hopefully

Day 2 of 33

What began as a scary descent into - oh my god, I'm never going to find my character's flaw - actually took a turn for the better. I revisited my plot summary, spent a while exploring flaws in literature online and I'm not sure at what point but a flaw did emerge.

I also went to the act 1,2,3 structure and realised that what I was pushing the book to end as was not right for it. The situation I throw my characters in, in the first chapter of the book, they need to spend the entire book getting themselves out of it. In fact, reading about Katniss's evolution throughout all the Hunger Games novels made the click happen for me.

Whereas I spent hours and hours and trying everything yesterday, today I was just mindful and I did not spend that long at all and I was able to reasonably see how my character evolves through the novel.

I have to explore the intricacies now, of how her story fits in with the plot. What I mean is, does the story work with the plot I have imagined - or do I need to change things around? The sooner, the better, else when things get fixed in the memory, it's confusing to change things around - there is a lot to keep track of. I'm also understanding that plot elements can be played around with, with more ease than the characters, they are just pieces of the game, and obstacles can be moulded at will. It also helps that I have lists of plot points on an excel. But what is really central is how this character will evolve. Whether the challenge I throw at her is related to survival in nature, different types of love interests, particular political challenges, it doesn't matter.

What matters is, again, the character conflicts of the people she interacts with. This is their why and makes their actions seem motivated by something they believe in, like a value or again, flaw such as ambition, greed, sacrifice etc. These ideals help make the characters larger than life.

I'm also finding that reckless exploration must come to a close - so I have zeroed in on tragedy to watch and understand as a story graph for a few weeks and also to read the The Handmaid's Tale. From broad, it's time to go deep and narrow into the themes I right for me to explore at this time.

Again, I have tried numerous writers and books which are critically renowned but too cryptic for me to get through, so am I little wary of them, but on the other hand, I have found books like All The Light I Cannot See which I think should be on everyone's list to read before they die. I think it's all about trying what works and then giving it to your time and attention mindfully. If it doesn't click, it doesn't or maybe just attempt it another day. At one point it was better for me to read Neil Gaiman but today I may get more out of Atwood. No judgement.

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