character

365 Challenge: Day 137 – Character

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Character: (a) the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual, or (b) a person in a novel, play, or movie

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Characters are on my mind today. In many different ways. The characters on my screen at some point changed to a whole bunch of symbols. I didn’t do anything to cause it. They just up and converted themselves. I gave the laptop screen my best sideways glance, calmly explaining that I was not taught how to read hieroglyphics. I casually mentioned if this was a message from the Writing Gods to consider a different language or story, my response would be to remind them I could close this file and start an entirely new novel, one in which they did not exist. I stepped away to pour a glass of seltzer, hoping it was just a momentary glitch. When I returned, all was back to normal. Apparently, when I speak, computers jump. I also realized I had been leaning on the touchscreen monitor when trying to adjust its angle, somehow temporarily changing the font to “MT Extra.” Word of Caution: Unless you are Robert Langdon, I wouldn’t suggest doing this to yourself.

That’s fine. I can take a practical joke. On to the writing. Have you ever argued with one of your characters? (if you’re a writer, that is… because if you’re not, I suspect you don’t have characters… but I wouldn’t know for sure as that’s what I have all the time… these characters in my head who like to start fights with me). Today was all about nicknames. I have a thing for them. I’ve been given nicknames all my life. It gets to the point where everyone now calls me something different and I just have to learn to deal with it. So I think it’s OK to have nicknames. But not everyone else does. For instance… my main character suddenly has three different nicknames. It could confuse people. Or make it easier to know who’s talking without any dialogue tags. Eh, I won’t bore you non-writers. It should be sufficient to say, we are all different characters, depending on who we happen to be socializing with at the time. And having a nickname that is different from friend to friend seems like a logical thing to me. I don’t care what my character thinks about this decision. I write. They listen. If there’s a problem, call Thursday Next to help. {Aside: She’s a literary character who fixes problems with book plots and characters in a murder mystery series by Jasper Fforde.}

Some people bring out the sultry side in me. Yes, there is one. I usually project a vanilla and plain personality, so as not to cause an uproar on the blog, but there’s more to me than just the blogger you all know. I actually can be flirtatious, seductive, sexy, alluring… fill in whatever word works for you. But then again, my characters also need these qualities, so I often need to blur the line between them and me. I’ve currently got two people on a train who suddenly get jostled together, and I need to describe the intimacy growing between them. Where do I start? Experience. But as I’m writing it, I think… wait, now that’s something I would do. Would “x” do that? Hmm… Wait, would I really do that? Fifteen minute reflection on how I’d behave on a train in public under those conditions. Anyways, I find a way to write the scene, return to edit it, then put it down for a few hours. When I re-read it, something kept telling me it was the wrong two characters for that scene… that’s fine, I’m amenable to change. I can cut/paste to a future chapter and write something for the two on the train who won’t leave me alone. Characters. Can’t live with them and can’t live without them, huh?

We all have friends like that. People who are characters, pushing and pulling us in many directions until we just don’t know what to make of them. That’s how I feel about describing myself sometimes. I’m different depending on who I’m with. I feed off the energy between us and find a way to make what exists in our little world at that moment something special. I have a friend who is absolutely hilarious when it comes to all the efforts he will go to when trying to get out of a new relationship. I’m talking after two or three dates, nothing serious. Rather than tell someone he is no longer interested, he ends it a few different ways. He will just stop responding to any texts or calls. He tells them he’s moving to North Carolina. He tells them he is entering the priesthood. But none of them are jokes. He makes it seem like it’s all serious. He’s also the same friend who leaves parties, bars or dinners without saying goodbye. He is there talking one second, says he needs to use the bathroom or is going to talk to someone else, then he sneaks out. While these are two things he does that could showcase a negative quality, he’s so amusing and fun, you always just look the other way. He makes it a fun experience, and for that, I’d call him a character.

Character can also be that moral stance you take or image you project… usually said by someone wiser… “You’ve got a lot of character.” {Aside: Yeah, I know, tell me about it. Too many to handle.} But what makes up that sense of having good character. Honor? Humility? Down-to-earth? Strong? Honest? Old-Soul? I’ve got a few of those under my belt, but I wouldn’t really consider myself as someone with strong character. Not in a negative way, but I think the word describes someone who’s had a harder life, somebody closer to the Earth… gets his/her hands dirty every day, builds things, teaches moral lessons. Not sure that’s me. I’m more the partially funny / partially nutty one who tries to find hidden meanings in things while stirring up a little bit of fun trouble.

So where am I ending up here… a few questions I’m pondering as I pick up new books, shuffle some people around and draft my own chapters:

  • Will you describe your definition of a strong character in a book?
  • What qualities make up an individual with solid character?
  • How many different characters (unique people) do you have in your life?
  • Who’s your all-time favorite character in either a book, show, movie, cartoon, etc.?
  • Have you ever tried to read hieroglyphics (AKA, this rather peculiar post)?

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Avonna @ Avonna Loves Genres. As today’s post is all about characters, the connection is Avonna’s love of literature, books, genres and characters. We met five months ago on Goodreads, where we connect on tons of books with each other all the time. We have similar reading interests, as well as some differences, too. But her site is full of so many different reviews — always very detailed and analytical. I’ve picked up a few new books from her and hope I’ve shared a few good ones with her. If you love books, and you read different genres, and like reading reviews, then this is a good site for you. If you don’t believe me, check out the below blurb from her About Me section and then go visit the site yourself:
    • “I am an avid reader, reviewer and genre book lover! This site is for reviews, discussions and articles on genre books. We are all lovers of great stories, but like all readers, we have differing tastes and opinions even on the same book. That is what makes reading and reviewing interesting. I would love for you to comment on the various books reviewed and feature blogs. I will not publish a book review I would rate less than 3 stars. I hope everyone enjoys my site and reviews!”

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

TAG: Unpopular Opinions Book

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Many thanks to Meltingpotsandothercalamities for tagging me for the “Unpopular Opinions Book” tag. If you haven’t yet checked out this blog, I encourage you to take a gander as it is full of content from both a reader and writer perspective. Great ideas and points of view.

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A POPULAR BOOK OR BOOK SERIES THAT YOU DIDN’T LIKE:

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. I haven’t read a lot of science-fiction or fantasy, but this didn’t do it for me. I laughed a few times, but it was too over-the-top in a way I couldn’t connect. I am enjoying more fantasy books, and I like Star Trek and Star Wars, but this one… nah… I’ll pass.

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A POPULAR BOOK OR BOOK SERIES THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO HATE BUT YOU LOVE:

The Philosopher’s Apprentice by James Morrow. I’m not actually all that into philosophy, but the story in the first and third sections of this book were fantastic. I had some issues with the second section of the book, and had to turn my head and squint to accept it. I’d say it’s absolutely worth a read, purely based on the story and depth of thought that you come away with.

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AN OTP (ONE TRUE PAIRING) THAT YOU DON’T LIKE:

Do Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey from “Fifty Shades” by E. L. James count? I love the concept of the story and its characters, but I just couldn’t buy her falling for him, nor him wanting her. They seemed too much of a mismatch. And when I saw the movie, I felt it coming off the screen too. Maybe it’s just me!

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A POPULAR BOOK GENRE THAT YOU HARDLY REACH FOR:

Romance. I’m not really keen on reading all about romance. I don’t mind it being a background sub-plot, but if it’s the primary driver for the story, I’d probably pass! For example, I love Outlander, as I classify it historical fiction with some romance or love angles to it.

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A POPULAR/BELOVED CHARACTER THAT YOU DO NOT LIKE:

Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t care much for her… and I was an English literature major who loves classic literature. I try putting myself in her place at that time, but I’m still just not very fond of her approach, style and persona. I much prefer other stronger female characters with vehement conviction who lead their novels.

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A POPULAR AUTHOR THAT YOU CAN’T SEEM TO GET INTO:

Neil Gaiman. I’ve only read Neverwhere, but I struggled with the way the book was written, the characters and the plot. It’s been a few years since I read it, and I want to try his other things, but I feel like he just may not mesh with what I like in my reads.

A POPULAR BOOK TROPE (OVERUSED PLOT DEVICE) THAT YOU’RE TIRED OF SEEING:

The dead person is not really dead. If done well, then it’s great. Most of the time, it’s not… introduced purely for the shock value, as opposed to it being the best solution for the crime and victim.

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A POPULAR SERIES THAT YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN READING:

Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather”. I haven’t even seen the movies. It seems too overdone and over the top for me… that many books about the mafia? Too much. One book is enough, or one supporting story-line seems sufficient. But that’s just me!

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THE SAYING GOES “THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE”, BUT WHAT MOVIE OR TV SHOW ADAPTATION DO YOU PREFER MORE THAN THE BOOK?:

“The Hannibal Lecter” series by Thomas Harris. I loved the movies and only read parts of the books. They’re good, but the actors in the movie just push it up a few notches, such that I can watch those movies anytime.

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I Tag:

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! Each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think.

Review: Edited Out: A Mysterious Detective Mystery

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Edited Out: A Mysterious Detective MysteryMy rating 3.5 out of 5 stars to E.J. Copperman‘s novel Edited Out: A Mysterious Detective Mystery, the second in Jeff Cohen’s (author’s real name) “Mysterious Detective Mystery” series of books. It was really a 3.4999999 and I had to unfortunately round down. Now that I’m reviewing more ARCs, I find myself starting series in the middle, which is never a good idea… And though this was a good book, you should definitely read the first one before you take on book two. I’ll explain why later on in this review. Onward we go…

Why This Book
I belong to an advanced reader group on Facebook for cozy mystery books, where I entered a contest to win a copy of this one. I won the book, and I’d like to thank E.J. Copperman, Crooked Lane Publishers and the ladies who run the Facebook group for the opportunity. And as expected, my review is an honest response to the book. It was the last open ARC I had before jumping on to some NetGalley awards, so it’s good to feel caught up on at least one site.

Overview of Story
Rachel is a mystery writer living in NJ, and she has several books penned about a detective named Duffy Madison. She makes a decent living at writing, but her life is turned upside down when a man named Duffy Madison claims to be her character brought to real life. (Note, this all happened in the first book… we’re now on the second book…) In this one, Duffy’s research leads him to Damien Mosely who has been missing for 5 years. Despite her concerns, Rachel agrees to help Duffy investigate Damien who lived in Poughkeepsie, NY. During their investigation, they meet 4 or 5 people who are all telling some level of lies about who Damien was and what kind of relationship they previously had. No one believes he is dead, but then a body is discovered, and it matches Damien’s and Duffy’s description. After a few days of checking out all the leads, they are all starting to believe Duffy can’t be Damien, as Damien is definitely the dead body; however, Damien’s supposed wife turns up dead, throwing suspicion onto Duffy. Rachel and Ben, a friend who works in the DA’s office, dig even further and learn a few secrets that bring the murderer to the forefront. In the end, the case is solved, with a few mishaps and a few near-death experiences.

Approach & Style
1. “Edited Out” is book 2 in the series. Book 1 was “Written Off.” The entire premise in the series is that an author meets a man who claims he is the character in her books. Duffy has no memory before 5 years ago, when the first book was published, and he’s determined to prove that he’s not someone with memory loss. Meanwhile, the author, Rachel, is trying not to get close to him, as she thinks he might be a little crazy; however, she’s drawn to helping him figure out his identity, as she is struggling to write the character now that she’s seeing some of his characteristics come to life in front of her. What if she makes a mistake?

2. It’s a first-person narrative, told from Rachel’s perspective and point of view. It does not jump around, which is a good thing for some readers. It helps keep a little bit of suspense, especially given how important of a character Duffy Madison is to both the real book and the books Rachel writes within the book we are reading.

Strengths
1. This could have been tremendously confusing, but the writer does a good job at being very clear when we’re talking about Duffy the character and Duffy the real-life person, and rarely without it feeling repetitive. It’s a great concept – a character comes to life – if that’s what it turns out to be. Reminds be a little of Jasper Fforde‘s series with Thursday Next.

2. The writing is relaxed and easy, makes you laugh and crosses that line a little between the writer and the reader, but in a good way. A few times, I’m like:

Open Questions & Concerns
Though the mystery was good, it wasn’t superb. The book starts off in a place where it would have been really valuable to have read the first book previously. You’re left guessing how did Duffy meet Rachel, what kind of intros did they have, what was going on just before this all happened. But that was book 1 and you don’t know unless you read it. As a result, the mystery in this one isn’t like normal mysteries… Step 1, you have a character you get to know, Step 2, the character dies, Step 3, you search for the killer. Here, it’s… Step 1, let’s figure out who I am, Step 2, oh, I’m this guy possibly, Step 3, oh wait, he might be dead, Step 4, let’s figure out who killed him. So I’m left thinking…

“Yeah, I know if you investigate this murder, you might get some info on who you really are, but I don’t care about that murder… I just want to know if you really came to life from the book.”

BAM. And then the book ends with no further information on who the real life Duffy Madison is, other than he may have gone to school with the dead guy. Whaaaaat?

Final Thoughts
It’s a great concept. I like the story. I may go back to read book 1. But I’m not sure where the series will go at this point… will it be 10 books trying to figure out who the real life Duffy is, or did he really spring out of the book and this becomes a fantasy series. I might be able to go with it…

As I really enjoyed the author’s writing style, I’ll likely give some of his other series a chance. He has “The Haunted Guesthouse Mystery” series with 8 books and “Asperger’s Mystery” series with 4 books. I’d never heard of him or his books before, so I’m really glad I won this ARC.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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