Two undeniable facts about story:
1) Readers love a good story, whether it is a short story, novella, stand-alone novel, or a multi-book series. We want to dive into stories that take us to exciting places and time periods we have never experienced, such as: Space, the wild west, ancient Greece, Rome, Alaska. We want thrilling romance, horror, mystery, and adventure! What we want is escape.
2) Regardless of genre, writers aim to deliver the most satisfying story possible. We pour endless hours, brain power, research, angst and sometimes tears, into crafting believable storylines, building worlds, and creating characters that will captivate and thrill readers.
Wow! This sounds like a partnership made in heaven, doesn’t it? Well, not always.
Problem is, a writer’s vision and readers’ expectations do not always align. Irregardless of preferred genre, readers know what they like and, whether aware or not, they have a story checklist in their mind, developed over their years of reading. If a writer fails to fulfill certain aspects of the story experience their pleasurable book reading interlude deteriorates, and so does the author’s rating. If the book is finished at all.
So, how can writers ensure they are pleasing their readers?
I should say – know your genre, read as much as you can in that genre and emulate popular authors – right? Yes, most writing craft books do recommend doing your genre homework.
But, I feel a lesser discussed and even more important factor to the perfect story has less to do with genre, world building, or sometimes, even the perfectly crafted, original tale.
I have taken note, time and again, from reading a wide variety of reviews, that many readers will forgive missed boxes on their story expectations and preferences checklist, (most of the time), that is, if they love the characters.
Great characters are the primary it factor necessary for nearly any well received book. At least, in my personal observation.
So, now that you’ve labored with ardor over your masterpiece, how do you know whether your characters are up to mustard? I mean, you’ve put your all into your characters’ varied appearances, gender, roles in their world and in moving the story forward, right? But are these fabricated people interesting? Do they stand out and hold their own in unique ways, to the point where they do not need to flash their name tag every time they speak, but also ‘move’ the reader, make a mark on the emotional richter scale? Or do they fall flat?
Along the road of writing my own novels (still in work), I have garnered some helpful information. I want to share it with you!
In upcoming posts I will cover important information for creating unique, interesting, and relatable characters that will firmly invest readers in your story. I will also give you a downloadable tip sheet for easy reference, with each article.
Until next time, Happy Writing,