Hey all! Today I have the amazing C.M. Keller on MFB. Not only is she one of this month’s amazing award sponsors, but she’s a kick-ass writer. I hope you all enjoy her tips on how to balance your reading and writing lives. Take it away, Connie.
Last week, I wrote a post about complex characters and how to write them.
Basically I think it comes down to showing more than one side of a personality, the good, the bad and the ugly.
It’s amazing how often new writers are scared of doing this. I was too. When I started writing my fantasy epic, I was honestly terrified of my decision to write complex characters. After all, fantasy is traditionally the land of noble souls, so I was worried that writing something that veers of far from that, I’d alienate my readers.
And you know, it didn’t.
In fact, I ended up loving all of my characters, although two of them are capable of being complete bastards. More importantly, the people who’ve read my novel so far do too.
There are more than one reason for this, but today I want to focus on one.
A reader is drawn into a story because of sympathy for the character leading them through it. There are a variety of ways to win sympathy for your character. If you’re interested, I suggest you see Moody’s series on it.
I agree, but there’s another aspect to emotional attachment between a reader and a character. Emotion. Specifically: the character’s emotions.
You see, putting characters through the grinder isn’t enough. In fact, it can be a very risky thing to do if it’s not coming organically out of the story.
Aside: “organic” as I’m using it now applies to both plotters and pantsers. There are things that happen in a story because it makes sense within the story (organic). Or things happen because the authors need them for the story to make sense. (not-organic)
The risk comes from the fact that readers immediately pick up on non-organic events. (More on these later.) So instead of sympathy, just adding the four factors above will have readers rolling their eyes at best.
Instead, I propose to writers, the emotions themselves are what make the connection. A characters emotions make a reader’s move in resonance. (I.E. they strike a chord.) Complexity of emotion along with complexity of character will move the reader completely. That’s why characters can be terrible personalities, but still loved.
In every situation. What is the character feeling? Loss? Fear? Dread? Hope? Love? Anger? Resentment? The options go on and on. How the character reacts emotionally will give the reader something to hold on to.
For an example of what I mean, look at Katniss from the Hunger Games Trilogy. She’s mean, cynical, stubborn and out for her own interests above those of others. Not exactly likable noble character material. Yet, she kept millions of readers interested through three books. Why? Because below everything she says and does, she has a depth of emotion that I hazard to say has been unrivaled by her fictional contemporaries. With all her flaws, she deeply loves her sister, which is why she basically agrees to go to killing fields instead of her. That love is what keeps her going in the killing fields despite the terror and all the other mixed emotions that go with it. I personally couldn’t care less about a character named Katniss about to die. I care about a fictional person who did something completely against her personality traits because her love for her sister over-rode everything else. My suspicion is, I’m not alone.
So to evoke sympathy, let the reader see what’s going on with a character, even when it’s only glimpses. Don’t only make them suffer and go on a murderous rampage. Have them howling in pain first. And for heaven’s sake, motivate the pain by love.
Letting the reader see hurt and love and doubt, gives him or her a hold they won’t release until the end.
If you manage to do those right, fitting with your character, all those dirty tricks needed for creating sympathy come out on their own.
How do you go about evoking sympathy for your characters?
Hey lovely peeps! Just want to let you know I’ll be back tomorrow. Just had a long couple of days at work, so I needed to rest. Will be back tomorrow.
In the mean time, please don’t forget to vote for the award nominees and to check out the Word Master Challenge. You have a week left to enter.
Have a great day!
It’s News Day again! For those of you new to my blog, it’s a series where I bring awareness to goings on in our writing community. If you have something you’d like me to share, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com. It can be anything. From blogfests to great beginners to posts you think everyone should read. It can also be your own bit of news, if you’d like.
Today, though, I have to focus on the biggest piece of news for MFB:
I present to you the nominees and sponsors for January’s Paying Forward Award. By the way. I think the name’s sort of lame. Anyone have a better one?
Before I get to the nominees, I want to give a special thank you to this month’s sponsors and their prizes. Please go visit them all and give them some love. Why? Because they are all amazing.
Finally, I will be giving away a $25 voucher to the vendor of your choice (assuming I can purchase it online).
Now, onto the Nominees by Category (in no particular order):
Most Encouraging Blogger:
Best Writing and/or Inspirational Blog:
Beginner and/or Small Blogger with Most Potential:
Before I start today, I just want to do two quick announcements. Firstly, I decided to move the nominations and sponsor announcements to tomorrow, since nominations are still coming in. So if you haven’t done it yet, please go nominate some awesome bloggers now!
Then, you have 10 days to enter the Word Master Challenge.
Today, I want to announce Julie Flanders’s new release.
All the best, Julie!
Who out there are mystery-lovers like me?
Hey all! Before I start with today’s post, just want to do two things. 1) Remind you that you have until 31 January to enter my Word Master Challenge. 2) Let you know that my query is being critiqued at The QQQE, if you’re interested in seeing a tiny fraction of what Doorways is about.
So I mentioned here that I want to do awards ceremonies to pay things forward to other bloggers. Also, to make others aware of some amazing blogs out there.
Seven AMAZING people volunteered some prizes to pay forward. I’ll announce them next week, but in the mean time…
Thank you again!
With my prize, we have eight in total, so I decided to announce four categories this month so that the winner and runner up can both win something.
These will be January’s categories (in no particular order):
Most Encouraging Blogger
Best Writing and/or Inspirational Post
Beginner with Most Potential
Please note: I will NOT be accepting nominations in the comments section as the links will probably shoot my spam filter to shreds. BUT, you can tell me what you think of this idea and which categories you want to see next month. Want to make sure I’m running something people like.
If you have nominations, please e-mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com with the word “nominations” in the tagline. You don’t have to nominate for every category, but if you have someone’s name immediately popping into your thoughts, you should nominate him/her.
Please spread the word about this, because on Monday, I’ll announce the nominees, prizes and sponsors. I’ll need you all to vote for the winners.
That’s me for today. Have a great one and a wonderful weekend!
As some of you might remember from November 2012, I explained how I picked my NaNo novel based on the thought of creating a production-line of sorts.
The plan is simple: Write all the current ideas in my mind. Stay in draft mode for as long as possible. Then move into edit mode and stay there for as long as possible.
My reasoning is that this way, I’ll eventually get to a point where I have a finished novel to query while having a whole line-up of novels to edit at the same time.
Simple, yes. Except for one thing. The way my creative mind works involves lots of pauses while it sifts through its thoughts.
Like now. I know what I want to happen in my current rough draft, but for some reason, I just don’t feel like writing. It’s actually a bit worse than that, although I don’t know how to put it in words.
Suffice it to say, something’s telling me to give this WiP a break.
But if I do, will I get back to it in time for me to fit it into the production line?
My gut says yes. My brain is wondering.
On the other hand, I know that it’s wise to give this one a break. I’ve spent years on the book before it and I’m querying that one as we speak. Maybe I should just relax and go with the flow.
Except I know it will be much better to have the sequel drafted by the time book 1 is out, which might be much sooner than I thought.
As I write this, however, I can feel a knot forming somewhere in my thoughts. I don’t know what it is, exactly, but if I force myself to continue with the story, I’ll be adding to the problem.
Guess that means I’m moving onto something else. Maybe for a day. Maybe longer.
Wonder which story I’ll move to now.
Anyone else hit upon snags without knowing what they are? What do you do?
Well today I finally get to go back to my roots a little, as a writing blogger. Hmm. Sorry, that’s a bit of a terrible way to put it.
Welcome to another News Day. It’s intended to bring some info I’ve found to my blog readers’ attention. If you have any news you think I should share here, whether or not it’s your own, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.
Offers to Help
Competitions and Submissions
Calls for help
Nick Wilford is looking for stories by you to enter into an anthology. The proceeds of which will go towards further educating his son, who has Cerebral Palsy. Please go check out the post here.
Bloghops and Blogfests
On of my amazing CP’s M Pax is hosting the Back from the Future Blogfest with Suze from Subliminal Coffee and Nicky Elson.
Worth A Look
If you are new to writing and would like a great, easy to understand resource on the craft, Moody should definitely be one of your first stops.
That’s the big question looming in my mind at the moment. How ready am I to return into the query trenches?
I’m both very eager and petrified of starting again. On the one hand, I know I now have a brilliant query. I also know that I have a one page synopsis that I like the look and sound of. I probably won’t be able to refine it much further than it is now.
At the same time, I have come to a decision. Something has to happen to Doorways this year. Either an agent says yes, or a publisher says yes, or I publish it myself. Point being, I am NOT sitting on it for another year.
So. By the time you read this post, I will have queried about 90 agents. Every single fantasy agent I know of. If none of them like the sound of my book, I’ll be going to my small publisher’s list.
And if someone still doesn’t believe portal fantasies can’t sell, I’ll go it alone.
Some of you might wonder why I’m leaving it as the last option: no reason in particular. I’m just following a progression that seemed logical to me.
As for why I’m in a hurry? I’m hoping to get my answers by March or April. That way I have a few months for my book to be edited, formatted etc. and still be finished on time.
Another reason: I no longer doubt my query. I don’t doubt my story. Not a single bit. So there will be no more revisions to my query and I’ll only revise if someone asks me to. Other than that, there’s no point for me to stretch out the process.
I know my book will go where it’s supposed to.
Wish me luck!
Anyone think I’m nuts? (I partially do.) Have you done something like this?