Strip tease characters

This is another one of my post-critique befuddlements … you’re all used to that by now, right? In the novel I’m working on now, I have three main characters. My critique group members understood the first two characters fairly well, but so far only two “get” the third character, Renee. Most don’t find her a sympathetic character, which is the opposite of what I intended.

Renee is a tragic character. I want the reader to root for her, but I can’t reveal her sad backstory upfrontheartstrip … well, I could, I just think it’s better storywise to reveal it later. It occurs to me this is sort of like a strip tease. I have to reveal enough to pique the reader’s interest, but keep enough covered to tease them into staying around for more. I want it to be obvious that her reactions are not those of an emotionally healthy character, but I don’t want the reader to dislike her because of that.

The group did some brainstorming on this last night. I have suggestions for changes. Now, I have to decide if these suggestions will work for me … for my story.

So, I’m off to revise Renee’s … er … act. Wish me well.

15 thoughts on “Strip tease characters

  1. Good luck, Linda! That’s a great analogy as well. It really is a strip tease. I like that.

    After my writing group critiques, I am usually frazzled for a while, and then the ideas start coming on strong, FWIW. I love the process.

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  2. Renee coming in as a major player a 3rd of the way through the book is a challenge. She’s like a new girl in school, coming in months after friendships have bonded. It will take time before she blends in and becomes one of the crowd. Plus she’ll have to try harder than those starting on the first day.

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