Really Real Housewives post, so I'm feeling much better.
My problems also took backseat perspective when I read some other way more serious circumstances of writers I'm friends with. I'm praying for C. Lee McKenzie (who just released a book and was struck by tragedy) and Cassie Mae (who's been a beloved example of finding joy in life and thankfully still with us). These are blog-friends I've known and worked with for a long time. They're going through extremely rough patches and could use the support. Thank you.
And if you need to vent or celebrate - I'm listening!
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Whether they know it or not, readers want to connect with characters. Readers love a book because they can relate to them. This connection steers the success or failure of a book. If readers don't like the characters, they don't care what happens to them and they'll put the book down, or not buy it in the first place. But how do we write good, quality, jump-off-the-page characters?
Here are my humble suggestions for traits of Compelling Characters:
- Use qualities that remind readers of themselves or those close to them - keep characters realistic. Ask the question: "Would someone really do that?" And if your character does it anyway, they better have a darn good reason--motivation other than just moving the story along.
- Not all good guys are perfect - they have flaws; not all bad guys are evil to the core - they have redeeming features. Just like in life, some traits are hidden, but come out eventually!
- Characters act the way they do for a reason - they aren't just nice or mean for the sake of the scene, there's got to be deeper roots to their personality traits. Readers see through fake, flat characters - like "B-movie actors," not worth their time or money.
This week is my middle son's 18th birthday - can you believe it? I certainly can't! He's my Wild Child, the Act-first/Pay-later, no risk too great Daredevil. His "Wonder Years" have been a complete saga, and we keep wondering if he will survive Part 2: Life In the Real World.
We pick up as the saga continues... My adventurous son has decided to forego college (for which he got a nice scholarship) and join the Army. He's been a "Me do it!" kid since he was two, so once he's made his mind up, there's no convincing him otherwise. It was unexpected, but not a complete shock. We've learned to just go with it, for the most part. We support whatever choice he makes and hope for the best.
I say all this to introduce him as a perfect Wild Child main character: He's hilarious, smart, and handsome - with zero thought for consequences. This has led him into trouble many times - perfect for an action movie with tons of pitfalls he has to figure his way out of. He's super sweet with an innocence about him, yet so mischievous and ornery. A lady-killer who hates to be told what to do and has trouble admitting when he's wrong. Like Han Solo or Peter Quill. That's my Logan.
And I love every bit of him, wouldn't change a thing. When he calls, you know it's serious -- I just cringe and bear it. One of these days, I'll write his action hero adventure story - I've got so much material!
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Heather writes Romantic Thrillers, starting with the juicy Maguire's Corner series, One Good Catch and Already Home. I'm not big on Romance, but Heather's got talent and kept my attention! She also shares the load as an Insecure Writers Support Group admin, as well as a caretaker of some unruly gnomes. A truer writing confidant you'll never find. So glad I know her. Stop by her place and say hello - she'd love it!
Have a great week, you guys. Thanks for stopping by!