Have you ever tried to make out with a cardboard cut-out?

December 03, 2009

It ain’t pretty.  And it’s awkward.  You’re trying to get all close on the couch and he’s like stiff and I’m not talking in the heavy make-out way either (she raises an eyebrow).  His two dimensional self is unable to sit on the couch and more like leans across it.  So you fold him in half at the waist and knees to make him more comfortable.  Now he’s just getting all bent out of shape.  All the moves are made by you because his hands are permanently at his side, one neatly tucked in his pocket.  No problem you’re an aggressive girl and you go in for a smooch.  Instead of receiving a little tongue action in return you get yourself all inked up around the mouth and now your one sided boy toy has got a smeared up face and you’re asking yourself what you ever saw in him anyway.

Let’s replay the lunch scene from Twilight where Bella sees the Cullen’s for the first time.  But instead of paying actors we’ll just use, um, cardboard character cut-outs.

Lunchroom Scene:  Bella Meets the Cullen’s, Take 1

I see white forms walking to the door.  A blonde, busty she has a permanent scowl because she’s made of cardboard and they don’t change, that’s Rosalie. (I think I will just get a permanent marker.  Do a little squiggle here, a V there and viola: devil horns, brows and goatee.) Next is a wider white cardboard guy holding his arms in a gorilla fashion, that’s Emit.  Then, with the help of movie crewman, a spinning cardboard cut out of Alice, permanently posed in a ballerina position, twirls around like a dancer.  There is no graceful twirl but a constant never stopping spin because if you’re going to be cut-out in that pose forever you need to spin.  When the crewman gets dizzy from spinning he attaches Alice’s cut-out to the top of a record player.  Followed by her would be Jasper.  Since he spends most of the movie looking terrified and deranged he might actually be a cardboard cut-out…hmm.  Then the hottie, in black.  But instead of the smooth walking cool kid that he is, you have another crewman teeter totter Edward on his cardboard cut-out feet.  And he has to keep that broody look forever, no cute curled smile when he hears the girls giggle about him.    Aren’t you drawn in?  No, isn’t this working for you?

You see where I am going here?  Probably not, I’m sure I sound like rambling bag lady but I do have a point.  In efforts to clean up the beginning of my WIP and get to the story, I cut out a lot of back story and kept cutting until I cut out the personality of all my characters.  I literally took the first few chapters of my manuscript and cut out cute little connected paper dolls and wrote a name on each one and called them characters.  Ahuh.  Yeah.  I gave my characters a lobotomy.

Well now what?  I played a little game with Chipmunk, my cheerleader beta.  I asked her, Can you describe the personality of character X?  Y?  Z?  Yes.  A little.  No, not really.  (Z, aka MC)  What about Q?  (Q, aka MC’s mom, who has a secondary role at best.)  Oh yes!  Hmmm.  (note the exclamation point) I took the same quiz before her and came up with the same answers. 

What did I discover?   In writing back story for my main character I wrote a lot about her relationship with her mother because as a teen I found that your parents really shape you through their actions and or reactions or lack of actions.  In doing so I created a fabulous back story to my MC’s mother.

Argh!  Do you feel my frustration?  So today I wrote a 2500 Dear Diary for my character because she does not have a voice.   Now as my WIP moves through, like say by chapter 8, her voice is much louder.  That doesn’t work.  So, I’m at it again.  Starting over for the third and I have no doubt not the last time.

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  1. LOL!!!!!!!!!!
    This was too funny! Seriously.

    And I completely understand how you feel! I've rewritten the opening so many times I've lost count. The main point is always there (A meets B) but the background, setting and mood is constantly changing.

    Good luck with the rewrites!

  2. I'll admit...I didn't know where you were going. LOL But it was brilliant. Now I'll forever think of cardboard Edward Cullen when my characters are lacking.

  3. Funny and heartfelt post, Gwoe. Do you feel the camaraderie? Everyone goes through this :) We all have to learn through writing-- there's no other way! So, sometimes that first novel isn't the brilliant thing your mind envisioned. Sometimes the second one isn't either (that's where I am. Sigh.). But that doesn't mean you don't learn, and you CAN go back and see your books with the fresh eyes of experience later on. You WILL make your story brilliant. Just keep writing :)

  4. LOL, don't let the redo's get ya down. Most of us are the same way.

    As for the making out with cardboar, that was simply hillarious!

  5. Had me laughing, too! Sometimes it helps to just push on through the whole story no matter what. Good luck!

  6. LOL- I totally pictured you making out with the Edward cut-out, by the way, I work in a mall office, so I see it every day at Hot Topic and FYE...LOL

    Great analogy! I had my characters interview each other, that helped me a lot :o)

    Good Luck with getting that voice just right!

  7. I'm still laughing as I picture someone trying to make-out with a cutout. Can my cutout be Christian Bale?
    awesome analogy.

  8. Ha, ha. Voice is a hard thing to get right. All the rewrites will be worth it in the end.

  9. I find that my MC's voice really shines through by the last chapter! I guess that's what editing is for. Hang in there!

  10. Megan - Ugh. There will be many rewrites I am sure but and as always I am glad I am not the only one.

    Catherine – I do ramble on like a bag lady quite a bit, but I usually have a point. LOL

    Diana – my sweet friend, I’ll figure it out but I have been taking a break from writing for the last few days. (and blogging and reading blogs, etc)

    Void – The redo’s are going to kill me, I swear. UGH! Glad I could entertain someone with my grief.

    Suzette – My peeps have personality I swear it just not until like chapter 4 or 5 now. I will go back and fix. I used to think my beginning was the best, boy was I wrong.

    Erica – your characters interview each other, that’s one I have not tried. Maybe I’ll do that. Thanks. Who’s your Cardboard boyfriend? Edward too?

    Mary – Christian Bale, oh yes baby! He’s a hottie!

    Natalie – Voice? My MC is like Arial after visit to the sea witch, yikes!

    Bethany – mine too. Yes, I will edit and edit and edit until she sings like Aretha Franklin!

  11. Of course- it's Edward!! LOL- sorry I didn't see your response until now :o)


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