Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday's Writing Tip: Character Care

"A writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature." Ernest Hemingway

Last week I wrote about letting your characters lead your story. This week I'll focus on the importance of making your readers care for those characters.

No matter how good the plot is in a story, if the audience doesn't really care about the characters involved, chances are the book will be tossed aside and never finished.

As writers, we need to let the reader into our characters' heads and reveal their longings, desires, hopes and fears. Knowing these things allows the audience to empathize and understand any hesitation or reservations seen in our characters. 

Better yet, readers will feel those dreams and defeats, and begin rooting for the people we've created from our imaginations.  They'll want that job promotion, breaking story, dinner invitation, bake off prize or home run to be a success just as much as our humble characters do.

Don't hold back, be dramatic! Reveal what's going on inside; and this includes bad guys!  They need a little empathy, too.  So even if your plot doesn't include a quest for world domination, it can be absorbing, as long as the reader cares for the characters!

In your current WIP, have you revealed enough about your characters to make the reader care? Tweet me @: maria_mckenzie. Thanks for stopping by!


William Kendall said...

Good blog choice today, Maria!

I've been careful with my characters to give them depth, writing in moments that define them, kind of approaching it like a painting, adding in details as I go along.

Maria McKenzie said...

I love your characters! Your bios of them and interviews with them are very revealing:). They have a lot of depth--I like how you approach creating them like a painting!

B.E.T. said...

This is actually the big reason I prefer writing in the first person. It's easier for me to get into the character's head and show the reader what they need to know.

This is a great thing to always keep in the back of your head. Thanks for the reminder! :)

Melissa said...

I like the quote about creating people not characters. Thats definitely how I feel about my characters. They are real to me and I hope that comes across in my writing.

Old Kitty said...

I hope and pray that readers will care about my characters in my current wip!! I really like my characters - especially the baddie!! LOL!! I hope I do enough to make my characters living people! Thanks for a fab post! Take care

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

It's difficult to recognize a good story if the the people(characters) are flat and lifeless.

LJ said...

I often start writing by creating my characters first. Something I have gun doing is "interviewing" them and letting them answer for themselves.

Maria McKenzie said...

@B.E.T.: Glad you liked the reminder:). I've never tried writing in 1st person, but I imagine that's a great way to be inside a character's head!

@Melissa: I feel the same way:). Once I create a character, he/she seems very real to me!

@Old KittY: I always like my baddies too! They're so much fun to write!

@Mary: So true!

@LJ: Interviewing is a great way to get into a character's head!

J.L. Campbell said...

True words.

I get so involved with my characters that even when I'm not writing their stories, I'm thinking about their situations and how they will evolve and mature as people, by the end of the book. If the writer doesn't find the character absorbing and/or strive to make them so, then it's a sure bet that readers won't be taken with them either.