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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sucessful Characters, Revelations, & A Giveaway with Julie Lynn Hayes

I'd like to welcome Julie Lynn Hayes to Labelle Books. Today Julie talks to us about Charlie Chaplin, creating character success & has offered a great giveaway to a lucky commenter or two, three, or four *winks*. Here is how her giveaway will work:

For 25 comments or less, Julie will pick one winner, from 25 to 50 she'll pick 2 winners, and if there are more than 50 comments, she'll announce 4 lucky winners. Please leave your email address' with your comments, up for grabs is an e-copy of one of her backlist. 

Julie will announce her winner on Monday November 26, 2012

Good Luck!
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Smile though your heart is aching 
Smile even though it's breaking. 
When there are clouds in the sky 
you'll get by. 
Actor/director/composter Charlie Chaplin wrote the music for this song in 1936 for his film Modern Times. The lyrics weren’t added until 1954. In the film, Chaplin’s best known character, the Little Tramp, struggles to survive in a highly industrialized world. Although the film is ostensibly a comedy, it is also a commentary on the life of the common man, and the struggle faced by many people during the Great Depression. Even though by the time that the words were put to the melody, the Little Tramp had made his last film—The Great Dictator, in 1940—the message is one that was always taken to heart and displayed by the character throughout his career, displaying the dichotomy which existed within him. The tragedy within the comedy.

Not only is there a fine line between humor and drama, the same precarious balance exists between love and hate, life and death. And sometimes little to distinguish between them. Yes, Chaplin’s films are comedies, certainly on the surface, but dig a little deeper and what do you find? Much much more. Who can ever forget the scene in The Kid, when the orphaned boy whom the Tramp has taken under his wing and loved and cared for is being wrenched from his arms? He’s crying, the Tramp’s crying, it’s a heartbreaking moment.  Who didn’t cry?  I did. Or what about the tender love which the Tramp displayed for the poor flower girl in City Lights? How hard he fought to help her, and how much he loved her, never knowing if that love would be or could be returned?

What am I trying to say? Basically, you can’t have one without the other. Your character does not exist in a world solely composed of all comedy or all drama. all love or all hate. He or she has to have layers because in the real world, people are not one-note wonders. Successful characters need to be much more. You  can tell when a character doesn’t work—when his motives are unrealistic or his personality is too wooden.  When he’s too perfect to be real. That can be a definite fatal flaw to a story, one that is sure to make us close the book and not bother to finish. Sure, we like to write about our pretty boys, and how wonderful they are. But make them interesting – give them flaws, give them hobbies and interests (outside of sex, please!) Make them human, and make them believable.

Chaplin’s Little Tramp wasn’t necessarily much to look at—with his trademark bowler, tight coat, oversized shoes and cane, but you know what? He was instantly recognizable. Sure, your guy has abs and buns of steel, but so does every other hot hero on the block. Give yours something that makes him stand out in the crowd, in the line that’s vying to get all the readers’ attention. I think this is why vampires have their Achilles’ heels, the rules and regulations they must conform to, because otherwise they’re all powerful and where’s the challenge in that? The reader is going to remember what’s in your hero’s heart and soul a lot longer than what’s in his pants. Also, lots of sex doesn’t necessarily equate to a good story.

If you smile through your pain and sorrow 
Smile and maybe tomorrow 
You'll see the sun come shining through 
For you. 

Let’s take this a step further, shall we? If we make it too easy on our heroes, if everything comes easily to them because of their great beauty and gorgeous physique, then what are we reading about? Stories need conflict, so to satisfy the reading public, you have to torture your hero in some way. Give him obstacles to overcome, problems to solve, tragedies to survive. Make him human—even if he isn’t. He’ll thank you for it. After he gets over being mad.

Give them goals, give them dreams, give them something to live for. The path of life can be a rocky road, but it makes for better reading than the story of a person whose life gets handed to them on a silver platter.

In Revelations, Judas Iscariot has a goal. He’s determined to see that Jesus does not die an early death, that he live to be an old man and live a long life. You see, he’s been in love with Jesus for over two thousand years. Sounds complicated? You betcha! But he’s determined to have it happen, even if he has to be make a deal with the devil to get it done. Will it be easy? Of course not! Most people don’t even like Judas. He has a lot of obstacles to overcome in order to keep the son of God safe. Each with their own agenda.

Have I intrigued you? I hope so! Revelations will be published by Museit Up Publishing in February 2013!

Remember to make your characters multi-dimension. Give them personalities beneath their pretty faces. And throw some boulders in their paths when they’re skipping down them. You’ll be glad you did!

Blurb for Revelations:

Judas has never been very popular, not in any incarnation that he and Jesus and the others have lived through. But he doesn’t care about that. All he cares about is following the instructions of God as set forth in the script that they follow. And Jesus. For Judas has secretly loved the son of God for over two thousand years.

But now he decides that enough is enough, and he’s tired of watching Jesus die far too early, and for what? This time Judas is determined to see that Jesus lives a long and happy life, no matter what price he has to pay to accomplish matter if he has to make a deal with the devil himself.

Revelations is a story of what could be, told by those who play it out, time after time after time, unbeknownst to the rest of mankind.  They've come back again, for yet another round.  But this time is going to be different.

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Best wishes,
~Jennifer Labelle~


  1. Revelations sounds like an intriguing, touching story. Thanks so much for sharing.
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