Saturday, September 29, 2007

Guest Blogger, Marylu Tyndall

Today it's my great pleasure to introduce you to my friend, Marylu Tyndall, as The Writer's Tool guest blogger. I first heard about her a little over two years ago, as she will explain below. And then I finally got to meet Marylu at the 2006 ICRS (International Christian Retailers Show) here in Denver. In my opinion, Marylu is the expert on pirates! Read on to see why, and if you haven't read her books in this series, you are missing out on a treat!

First of all, I want to thank Margie for having me on her blog!! Many of you don’t know this but Margie was hired by my agent, Greg Johnson, to read my first manuscript, The Redemption, in order to determine whether he would take me on as a client or not. She gave it a thumbs up. He accepted me and two months later I had a contract. So, I feel I owe a great debt to Margie.

Thank you so much, Margie!
[Margie here: It has been my pleasure to have had a part in your writing :). Thank you for being with us today.]

How to turn a villain into a hero

In The Restitution, the third book in The Legacy of the King’s Pirate’s series, the hero in the story, Captain Kent Carlton, played the wicked villain in the first two books. When many of my readers discovered this, they were hesitant to read the last book, unsure of whether they could actually root for a man they had come to hate. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure myself how I was going to pull it off. LOL. But the feedback I am getting so far indicates that by the grace of God, I somehow did. Now, I am asked by other writers how I went about this phenomenal feat, so after pondering that question, I came up with the following, which I’m sure you could apply to most any character.

1. Invoke the reader’s sympathy for the character. Best done by having something happen to him that we can all relate to in some way. In Kent’s case, he fell in love, and his love was not returned. Which of us cannot relate to that?

2. Create an event or events in which a major injustice is done to him—not that he doesn’t deserve it, but something that appeals to the reader’s sense of fairness and makes us root for him just a little. In Kent’s case, his half-brother, whom Kent has bailed out of all sorts of trouble, now conspires to kidnap Kent’s only son and steal his ship.

3. Show the change in him very slowly. In other words, don’t have him all of a sudden saving someone’s life at the risk of his own, but have him saying something nice that goes against his character, performing some small selfless act, and then build on that with bigger and better acts of kindness throughout the whole story.

4. Reveal a believable reason for his change. Normally there are only two events that will actually change a person’s heart: God, and some great emotional tragedy. Or in this case, a combination of both. In the prior books and in this one, Kent witnesses God’s love and power in the people around him. He begins to read the Bible. That and his newfound love for the heroine, Isabel, and then the kidnapping of his son cause his heart to begin to change.

5. Have him struggle with his old tendencies, slip up a few times, make mistakes and learn from them throughout the story. No one changes overnight. And which of us cannot relate to making a mess of things now and then?

6. As he changes, show his deep regret over past deeds and the sorrow and self-hatred that results. Have him come to a point where he humbles himself and repents.

7. Have one bad thing after another happen to him that serve to test his new character. Make his situation worse and worse as the story continues and have him teeter on giving up and returning to his old ways, but at the last moment, have him break through and commit some act of ultimate selflessness.

If you have made it this far, I hope my thoughts will help you in your writing.
God Bless,

1 comment:

MaryLu said...

Hi Margie, me again... just wanting to say thanks so much for having me on your blog! I wasn't sure what to write about but saw that your blog is about writing so I hope someone can get something out of my post. I hope things are going well for you and that we will bump into each other at another conference somewhere! God Bless,