The Secret to Writing Good Characters

Here’s a great post from a blog that all aspiring authors should be following. Thanks a lot Carly Watters for the original.
Enjoy

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

Ben Wiseman Illustration NYTCharacters make or break a novel, especially for agents. When agents get 100s of manuscripts submitted per month, what is it that draws us to some books and not others? Characters.

What agents look for in a main character:

  • Degree of likability
  • Interesting
  • Honest
  • Have a strong and unique voice
  • They feel like they had a real life before the book started and after the pages are done
  • No coincidences
  • Motivation for what they do
  • That we meet them at an interesting point in their lives
  • Most importantly: They must have a secret. What are they hiding?

All strong and interesting characters carry a secret with them. A secret that is slowly revealed to the reader. A secret that some find controversial always helps. A secret that the character has to explain and is the reason why they do what they do and why they are the way they are. And

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AUTHORS: Three Circumtances to Let Readers Know You Share Their Frustration

I really like the way this touched on a subject not often mentioned around the blogosphere, so I just had to reblog. Thank you Victoria Grefer for the original.
Enjoy…

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

reading-books-at-home-1145735-mThis post is about annoyed readers: specifically, how we authors can “annoy” readers in a way that’s NOT annoying. Or at least, how we can annoy them in a way that they’ll accept and overlook.

Confused yet? Let me explain.

There are times when a necessary aspect of fiction might frustrate or annoy a reader; when authors know that’s the case, a great strategy to approach the troublesome point is to make it obvious that you, the author, feel the same way the reader does.

Remember: this is for necessary aspects of your work that might be annoying or troublesome.

And that is the first point I want to make. Clearly, when some part of your novel or short story is cumbersome, or frustrating, and it is possible to cut it, you cut it. If you can tone it down in any way, throw some of the focus elsewhere, you…

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An unloveable hero? Oops…

Now that the feedback for my first draft is starting to trickle in, I am faced with the stark reality that my hero is a little hard to get attached to. Clang.

Picture 1I guess if there’s one aspect that can bring a story crashing down in flames, it’s lack of love for the protagonist. Imagine if we couldn’t care less whether Harry Potter became a wizard or a plumber? How would Star Wars work out if Luke was a complete git? And I’m not even going to think about George.W. Bush instead of Jed Bartlett in the West Wing.

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