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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fat Characters

I did it! I finished making the changes my editor asked for on the last draft! I'll admit I was very happy after I backed up the newest version and tossed aside the edits. Editing is nice because it gives you a direction to go in, but it's also debilitating. You have to go a certain direction. Not like writing, where everything is still open in front of you, plenty of possibilities.

We did decide to trim down many of my characters. I didn't realize that I'd made everyone "large", "plump", or "portly" until my editor pointed it out to me. That gave me a good laugh! When, of course, the percentage of obesity in Idaho and New York is only 20%. In many places in the south it jumps up to a 30+%, but hey, my book's not written anywhere in the south! (Okay, there's a two-page scene in Texas.)

But finally. Onto the writing. This is the part that is exhilarating and at the same time exhausting. Exhilarating because I've got (mostly) free creative reign, within the confines of making two of my characters non-denominational. (Which does leave me wondering, should I make them another denomination? Atheist? Or just Christian unspecified? I guess we'll let that work itself out.) Exhausting because...I think I've read this book more times than I've read the scriptures. I've rewritten it more times than I've read the Bible, that's for sure. Just since accepting a publishing contract, it's gone through five drafts. Before that, perhaps 20. It's not getting boring, and it's not getting old, but it is getting...exhausting.

So! I'll stop procrastinating and get to work.

Out of curiosity, what draft are you on? And how many of the people around you are fat?

16 comments:

David J. West said...

I have one character that is specifically Barkos the Fat. Kind of a cross between Ben Franklin and Crassus of Rome (Spartacus' antagonist)-yeah that's random but it will make sense. He is the only character that comes to mind that is designated fat and its in part because of his great wealth and lifestyle.

M. Gray said...

Great work, Tamara. I think having a few different religions will help more people identify with your characters... of course, duh, but it feels good to say it.

That's simply hilarious you had such a peppering of overweight characters. Maybe everyone is overweight compared to you? :)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

In my books NO ONE is fat. Farm Girl-- set on Nebraska farm land during Depression era...fat? Are you kidding? Uncut Diamonds-- Marcie and her sisters are obsessed with their weight and always on some kind of diet or another. So no fat there, although there's a lot of references to "being fat" and dieting, (I know, it's total chick lit) none of the characters are overweight.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Karen--but your book is set thirty years ago. Probably very few people were fat back then!

laurel said...

Congrats on getting through this round of edits! The invasion of the chubbies is kind of funny. My MC's British aunt is plump in a soft, huggable sort of way. But other than her, most of my characters are, well, average I guess. My characters are New Yorkers and Europeans, who tend to be thin from walking everywhere. I do see plenty of overweight folks here in Philly. Our most exported local specialty is the cheesesteak. Need I say more?

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I'm loving ya'lls terminology. "invasion of the chubbies"? "Peppering of overweight characters"? Funny.

Kasie West said...

That's funny that you had a lot of portly characters. I have one in my book. I think we need more chubby characters in the world. :) I don't even count my drafts anymore. It just makes me tired. :)

Solvang Sherrie said...

How funny that you had so many hefty characters! It's always interesting the things other people notice in our writing :)

Jaime Theler said...

I'll echo everyone else that your plethora of portly characters made me chuckle. I probably should toss at least one in my WIP.

Kate said...

For somereason i have an image of you giving all your characters a mental diet and exercise regime.

I like chubby characters in books they seem more loveable somehow.

Kate xx
http://secretofficeconfessions.blogspot.com/

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Wow! Five drafts??? Please tell me it isn't so! lol. I loved this post. I took the time (since I couldn't' sleep this morning) to work on my sequel which I hadn't done in a long time. I've missed that creative spark the comes with writing. I feel like I've been editing forever too, and yet, it has only been a little over a month! Yikes! I'm so happy for your edits to be done. Can't wait to read your story! I'm behind you all the way!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Five drafts, girl. This is number five. And I know it's not the last.

Vicky said...

Wow. I never thought about whether my characters are fat or slim. I guess I tend to gravitate more toward slim characters. If I have a fat character, which I can't even think of one right now, they're probably a bad guy.

I'm on draft 2 of the book I'm revising. Obviously, not a lot of work has been done with it.

Simon C. Larter said...

I'm not on any draft, since I write flash fiction and short stories... :)

But I do live near Philadelphia, which at one point was the heaviest city in the nation. They had a campaign a few years back to lose 1,000,000 pounds in Philly. Don't know how it turned out, but it certainly gives you an idea of how much excess weight Philly's cartin' around. :0

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Wow, Simon! That's incredible! Maybe I should've based my book out of Philly...then I could leave all my characters fat! :)

Aaron and Emily said...

Is anyone fat in my books or where I live? Well, I don't write books. People around this area are pretty trim.

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