5 Things Your Characters Want More Than Millions

bloggingAs writers, we sometimes forget the little things. I wanted to write a blog article that would cover some of the elements readers look for in books. Without these elements, you may find it hard to make your story enjoyable. Let’s take a look…

Secretly…

Some characters have questions, and some characters have answers. Often, characters have answers that they never want to share with anyone. Answers that would be secrets. Dark secrets, scary secrets, weird and odd secrets that they don’t want you, the reader, to find out… until it’s time for you to find out.

A Little Bit of Motivation

Just like living, breathing humans—characters want things. They are motivated by desires and requirements. In many cases, they spend an entire story trying to fulfill a dream or an ambition. This is one of the base requirements of a story. What does your character want? What are his or her motives? If you can’t explain this, then the story will fall apart.

Connections Are Everything

Characters need connections to other characters. These don’t need to be desired connections. They can be connections that the character is actively trying to deny. But they need to be there. They help make the character the character. Without connection to other characters, you will find the story falling pretty flat.

Strengths & Flaws

Characters who have absolutely no skills are dull. Readers really like to find characters who are really good at something. The best doctor? The best zombie hunter? The best detective? But at the same time, characters can’t be perfect. They have to be relatable. So, be sure to give your characters well-rounded skillsets, and make them as realistic and as relatable as possible.

Emotions

Everyone has emotion—even if we don’t like to show it. Characters have to have some kind of emotion to actually exist within the fabric of the book. Love? Desire? Hatred? They don’t have to be shouting these emotions out at the top of their lungs—but the reader has to know how the character feels. Do they feel hungry? Tired? Mentally wiped out? Is the guy in the corner so angry he could punch the wall? Essential.

What do you think?

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Writing On A Train

There’s something unique about writing on a train. While the world is literally passing you by, you sit and watch or in my case, sit and write. I’ve written a great deal while riding on the train to and from work. It has produced some of my most creative conversations between characters.

Lately I’ve been having some writing hesitation, trying to get the right descriptions out, trying to get the right words to express myself…trying to be perfect on the first shot. I always seem to forget that it’s alright not to be perfect right away. I forget that editing, editing and more editing can shed the drab writing leaving exquisiteness in it’s wake.

It was today writing on a train that I wrote something of pride. It was nothing more than four sentences but it was the best four sentences. That feeling is still lingering in my veins and has pushed me to finish the chapter and start on the next.

There may be inconveniences like limited seating, gross smells, loud noises, etc while taking the commuter rail. If it means that I can produce works of literary art that can astound readers, I’ll find a wall to lean against with my iPod in my ears, typing away mindless until the doors open at my destination.

Past Tense Vs Present Tense

When I first started writing, my opinion was that the tense didn’t matter. My entire focus was to get the story out, get the story told exactly the way I needed. And the only way for me to do that was to write in present tense. Even now after writing for almost two years, I write in present tense. The only way to explain it is that in my mind, the story is happening in this very moment. The feelings as purely written as I feel in that moment.

So when the discussion of tense change came about, I sided with present tense. I was already writing that way and it seemed to be my personal preference. I didn’t understand the difficulty of reading present tense versus past tense after reading my own stories so many times. And to be clear, I’m not putting down anyone who prefers to read or write either tense.

I’m in the process of getting Glimmer of Hope edited. And one of the first things that my editor stated was that it would be easier for readers if it were written in past tense. While I’ve been possibly stubborn on sticking to my present tense side of the fence, my only purpose is to get my story out there. Isn’t that what really matters?

And as if to put this into perspective, the next book I purchased on Amazon was written in present tense. While I am in total agreement of going through situations with the characters, loving every minute of it might I add, that I had to make an adjustment to get into the writing style. It wasn’t a hard adjustment but I still had to make one and I’m open to the present tense. I could only imagine someone not interested in present tense, taking one look and then putting it down.

While the preference of tense still seems to be in debate, the real question still remains. However it isn’t the question that most would think it is. Some people don’t like westerns or science fiction but that doesn’t mean writers should stop writing it. It is all about reader preference. What are you willing to risk to get your story out there? Are you willing to risk losing readers because of your writing preference?

And only you can answer that.

1 to 3 and back to 1

With support from friends and family, my YA novel has made some series headway. I was told to write at least one chapter a week which assisted in getting to chapter ten easily. However, something changed- the best explanation being that my water was messed with. I was able to write a chapter a day for three days in a row and made it all the way to chapter fourteen.

It was a shock to me especially since it’s about 10-12 pages a chapter. I wasn’t just skimming through so I couldn’t explain the rush of creativity but nonetheless grateful for it. However it has slowed back down where I’m struggling to finish chapter fourteen and move on to fifteen.Instead of being more annoyed and frustrated than usual, I’m grateful.

I’m ahead of the schedule I made for myself with only four chapters until it’s completed. Then the editing begins but this is a time to be happy, glad that everything worked out and not chastising myself for not continuing the insane writing session. Someone really must have messed with my water. I’m almost positive that I’m not the only person dealing with spurts of creativity but it was very sudden.

Has anyone else had this happen to them before? Are you not struggling to get back in the flow of a slower pace?

Revise & Revisit

I have been editing, reediting, and re-reediting my first full length novel, Glimmer of Hope. There seems to be something in the water that is giving goosebumps that this will soon see the light of day sooner rather than later.

With the assistance and support of my BFFLs, friends and family, I have been re-motivated to get moving. One of the best things about working on this piece is that I haven’t really sat down and read it in about a month. It felt fresh and easily mold-able to what I wanted. I didn’t hesitate to chop off too much description, too much conversation and make the points clear.

The fun part about writing a romantic thriller is no matter how obvious the end, it will always sneak up on the reader. Or at least I hope it does. Planning to keep revising this novel until I’m confident that the final piece is complete. Then hand it back to an editor, who hopefully doesn’t have much to do.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I was certain that light was much farther away than it actually is. Tomorrow is another day, taking the needed few more steps before I’ve arrived. 🙂

Determination Vs Sleep

It was 1:08am when I finished writing Chapter 5 for My Night Breeze. It felt like it was going to take twenty minutes tops to finish this chapter(I stated at 1pm in the afternoon). I was so tired but when the clock struck midnight I knew I couldn’t allow this chapter to best me. I’m the writer, right? I know the story better than anyone else…this should be easy.

More than glad to be done with this chapter because now the fun truly begins. Lots of clues and hints that were dropped in the prior chapters will now make sense and give the reader that ‘oh yeah!’ response. Excited to continue the writing journey for the day.

A New Adventure

I have begun hopping once again. I’m in the process of writing my very first YA Paranormal Romance (Title still in process). While most of my novels have been written in the form of first person and present tense, I’ve decided to change it up. This novel will be in third person and present tense. The tense may change to past but it depends on how the story comes out, whichever is easier for the reader. I’m committed to getting their story told because it’s unique and brings back happy memories of innocence.

But don’t worry, Blowing the Whistle hasn’t been forgotten in the least. Sometimes there needs to be a huge step back to get perspective before going back to edit/detail/re-write. Ally’s story will be shared and enjoyed sooner than I ever thought, so that’s good news for you and me.