Exactly how BIG is Larger?
Have you ever walked away from a fight wishing you could've said this instead of what you said?

Or while joking around with friends you think of something three conversations later that you should have said to get a laugh out of everyone?

If you're anything like me, you can list a thousand situations of each. Well, that's what today's lesson is on: Zingers. (Chapters 4 and 5 in Writing the Breakout Novel)

Best way to describe a zinger is to show you examples. It's not just saying what you damned well want, it's doing what you damned well want.

Example of saying a Zinger! Jodi Picoult's Salem Falls:

Wes slid his free arm around her waist and grinned, his teeth as white as the claw of moon above them. "You must be reading my mind, honey, since that brings me right to my third question." He pressed his lips over her ear, his words vibrating against her skin. "How do you like your eggs in the morning?"

He's too close. Addie's breath knotted at the back of her throat and every inch of her skin broke out in a cold sweat. "Unfertilized!" she answered....

Example of doing a Zinger! Janet Evanovich's One for the Money:

"He specializes in virgins! The brush of his fingertips turns virgins into slobbering mush."

Two weeks later, Joe Morelli came into the bakery where I worked every day after school, Tasty Pastry, on Hamilton. He bought a chocolate-chip cannoli, told me he'd joined the navy, and charmed the pants off me four minutes after closing, on the floor of Tasty Pastry, behind the case filled with chocolate eclairs.

The next time I saw him, I was three years older. I was on my way to the mall, driving my father's Buick, when I spotted Morelli standing in front of Givinchinni's Meat Market. I gunned the big V-8 engine, jumped the curb, and clipped Morelli from behind, bouncing him off the front right fender. I stopped the care and got out to assess the damage. "Anything broken?"

He was sprawled on the pavement, looking up my skirt. "My leg."

"Good," I said. Then I turned on my heel, got into the Buick, and drove to the mall.

Hopefully you've got the point of zingers. They take the reader from a place where they were thinking of saying or doing something in their head, to actually being there with the character who does it.

"Harshest of limits are those we impose upon ourselves in our heads." -- Donald Maass

Now there has to be more to a LARGER-THAN-LIFE character aside from a zinger. And trust me, there is.

The next big part of a larger-than-life character is change. Doing something that the character would have never done at the beginning of the book. I'm not sure this needs an example. I believe you can open just about any book and see what I'm talking about. Change and growth create amazing characters, and what a better way of showing your readers change than to have them do something they would have never done. Ever.

A larger-than-life character is one who says, does, and thinks things that we would like to but never dare.

Question of the Day:

Author's Message - What is yours?

While I never wrote my story to have a morale to preach to readers, along the way I believe there are a few in my story.

  • Never give up, and when you feel like you can't accomplish something, open up to your friends.
  • Have an open mind towards people in general. There are so many religions and different beliefs out there that you'll close out billions of people if you base them just off of religion.

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