Jerks

The world is full of ’em. You undoubtedly know some. You may be one. I may even be one. (But we can talk about that another time)

Last night, before sleep stole me away from consciousness, I was thinking about today’s writing. I’d finished up Chapter Five of the rewrite and would be jumping into Chapter Six this morning. So I was mentally running through what I’d written in the original draft, and what needed to be changed, or added to.

And I suddenly came to the conclusion that I wanted to make one of the new major-ish characters a jerk. An asshole, if you’ll pardon the vulgarity.

Why?

I dunno. To give his character a little more fla-vuh, perhaps. I wanted a character who would be a jerk, be unlikable, but not a bad guy. Just someone you’d grow tired of quickly, if you had to spend any amount of time with him. And then, of course, force Charlie Welles to spend some time with him.

I’d already introduced the character a few chapters earlier, but if you recall the Reefer Madness post of a few days ago, he was high when Welles saw him. And if you’ve spent any time around people when they’re stoned, you know that even the most uptight jerk can be loose and relaxed and tolerable when they’re high. Not always, of course, but it happens.

The first fifth or so of Blood for Blood is a sort of misdirection, where you’re led to believe the book is about one thing before it turns out to be about something else. So I thought it would be fun to do a little more of the same with this character –  make him seem like an okay guy up to a point, and then reveal that he’s actually a jerk.

It seemed like it would be fairly easy, so I finally closed my eyes and fell asleep.

After 1500 words of Chapter Six, I stand before you here to tell you that it’s not.

The problem is that I do not want to turn the character into a bad guy. Because he’s not. He’s actually a sorta kinda good guy. He’s just a jerk. So I have to be subtle about it, to some extent. Show the things that make him unlikable, but not to the point that the reader wants something bad to happen to him. Something terminally bad. And soon.

I’m still playing around with it in my head right now, how to play it out so he’s tolerably unlikable. He’ll be around for a few more chapters, then disappear for a bit, then come back for the last third of the book.

With any luck, as it comes together I’ll find it easier. Maybe I just need to think about him a little more.

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