Chapter Six of Mutual Benefits is now posted! It takes some new directions but all in all, I hope you all enjoy it.
A bit ago, I got a comment from a reader saying that my protagonists are never really the cocky arrogant “I never question what I’m doing” type, which I think was the polite way of saying that my protagonists are usually overthinkers. And that is absolutely true. I certainly hope that Adam, Quinn, Aaron and to a lesser extent the others are all different in their own righ,t but they are definitely all overthinkers, largely because I am. I think I can write characters that are not overthinkers, but I still have difficulty writing from the POV of someone who isn’t an overthinker.
Again, I’ve tried to shake it up, and I try to make it come from different places. Adam’s overthinking comes from his anxiety, and Aaron’s comes from his guilt. I don’t know if saying this will drastically alter the story, but to me, Quinn’s overthinking comes from his background of being more used to being by himself and having to generate enough conversation amongst his own mind to get on without others. It’s the same reason why stereotypically genius characters (Sherlock Holmes, the stereotypical doctor protagonist, etc) will often be strange eccentric types that talk to themselves and seem bothered by others. They’re more used to their own company than the company of others.
(Make no mistake, that was not me calling Quinn a genius. In fact, the two characters I’ve written that come close to “genius [Daisy and Nicole] are clearly very comfortable speaking openly with others. I’ve just noticed that writers, especially TV writers, tend to stick ‘genius’ characters into the bubble of ‘awkward loners.’ I wonder why that is.)
I usually default to awkward and overthinking protagonists because, frankly, I’m an awkward overthinker. When it comes to writing someone’s thoughts, I’m better at writing from the POV of an overthinker than a cocky casual brodude who doesn’t overanalyze every move he makes. There’s no doubt that I’ll have to break this cycle in a longer story, lest I fall too deeply into the trap of “erotica writer writing the same story over and over,” but overthinkers are more comfortable for me to write at the moment.
They also give me a lot of elbow room. If I really want to milk a moment and build suspense in the, “What did this moment mean? Tune in next chapter to find out!” way, having my protagonist overanalyze the situation really allows me to do so, both in terms of writing and in terms of character expression. If they were go-with-the-flow or lacked self-awareness, it would break character to focus on a singular moment like that, even if the story itself begged for it to be in the spotlight a little longer.
Writing a longform story about a person that lacks the desire to be introspective will genuinely be the most difficult thing for me as a writer. I’m not even fully convinced I can do it well, but of course, I’m going to try. Again, I do not want to write the same story over and over. I may have a style and a few signatures, but I’d rather branch out and give new experiences to my readers, and especially not force them to read the same plots with the same morals and the same base characters over and over. I can’t think of anything less fun, as a writer, than to be “boring.” I’ll talk to you all next week, and don’t forget to vote in my Patreon poll going up tomorrow.