grey days and greyer characters

I just read a friend's most recent manuscript. One of the issues I found was that I wanted to know the protag more deeply. It's a multi-pov book and so I had to really dig in and think about ways to do that besides throwing a bunch of internal narrative at it, which neither of us is a fan of. So I took a look at the other POVs and decided that they needed to center a bit better on his protag. I ran up against this in QUENCHER. I had to find a way to make each POV relate back to the main question and the heroine, which is what they like to call it in romance/erotica.

I'm now working on ways to do that in SCAR. I have four POVs. Two women. Two men. I like the symmetry of that, though it's bugging me that the women are basically antagonists and the men are our heroes. My solution is to make them all grey characters. It's been easy to make my heroes (Trinidad and Castile) very grey. The other night at Crit group, someone mentioned that both heroes had lost points in the sympathy factor. I thought, Yea, I'm doing my job. Both Castile and Trinidad have a deep streak of violent ruthlessness.

But the women are a bit tougher to make relate-able. I have some ideas for one, not so much for the other.

In the end, though, what they all have in common is Trinidad as the bane of their existence, even for Castile, who's falling in love with this man who he DOES NOT want to fall in love with. Trinidad's easy to love, not so easy to like.

So in this way, each scene must relate back to Trinidad and his story. Tougher than it sounds. It means cutting back some stuff, which is fine (sniff, sniff). It means focusing the scenes and making sure each contains a nugget about Trinidad, something new for the reader to chew on. And it means making each character come alive on the page.

That's the tough bit, I think. Any advice for this old hack?

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