Thursday, October 05, 2006

No Mistakes, No Story

Here's my set up.

Miss Kick-Ass Heroine is doing her job when she bumps into Mr. Exceptionally Competent Hero. Their jobs are similar although their goals happen to be at cross purposes. Great conflict just waiting to be exploited. Things looking good.

Except, both Kick-Ass and Exceptionally Competent need to change a bit in order to arrive at their HEA. Both need to gain some insight into how the other character has a point and that even though they've each been successful so far, sometimes it's necessary to try things a different way. In order to move these two kids in that direction, both characters need to make mistakes and learn from them.

Except, Kick-Ass and Exceptionally Competent don't make mistakes. They are achievers in their chosen fields, reknowned for their ability to get the job done. They are stubborn (yes, to a fault) but dang good at what they do.

If Kick-Ass makes a mistake, she topples into TSTL terrritory. This is unacceptable because she's made it this far because she's the complete opposite of TSTL.

If Exceptionally Competent makes a mistake, he comes across looking foolish. How has he become so well-known for his special skills and abilities if he makes such mistakes?

If either character falls down on the job, one has to wonder how he/she ever got this particular job in the first place.

So, what to do.

I'm not talking about characters here who have no flaws. On an emotional and personal level, Kick-Ass and Exceptionally Competent are fall down messes, a direct result of the fact that they've spent so much time becoming stellar at their jobs they've completely neglected the rest of their lives. The story explores how each character brings out those flaws in the other, and how recognizing those flaws makes them vulnerable and able to fall in love with each other.

But professionally, I'm still stuck.

My only hope is that I can somehow use the attraction Kick-Ass and Exceptionally Competent feel for each other as some kind of befuddling mechanism. Their normally cool professional responses get all mucked up because they've somehow let their personal selves come to the front.

This might work.

Blogging solves all sorts of tight jams, doesn't it?


Elle Fredrix said...

Hi Lynn

Love your blog.

Here's a thought. Why do K-A or EC have to be the ones to make the mistake? Speaking from experience, sometimes it doesn't matter how well YOU do your job. There could be someone on your team, or a client, that isn't quite so competent, and they make some sort of serious blunder. Guess what? It still impacts you, and often times you need to sit down and rethink a strategy to be able to recover from someone ELSES mistake. In the meantime,you're trying to maintain a professional demenour. Believe me, it can be quite a challenge.

Would something like that work for your characters?


Lynn M said...

Actually, Elle, yes, it would!!!

And I even have the particular problem in mind. One of EC's colleagues does something rather stupid albeit for a noble reason. And when EC isn't happy with what happens, he blames K-A, who of course tells EC that if Dumb Colleague would have just let her do her job, he wouldn't have caused the problems he did.

And this does allow some of those personal flaws I mentioned come to the front.

So you have a great solution for me. If I can find a way to hang most of the emotional angsting on the mistake of Dumb Colleague, K-A and EC can remain competent at their own jobs.


Elle Fredrix said...