Posts Tagged With: readers

Put Your Characters in Tough Situations

Creating challenges for characters requires in-depth knowledge about them. You need to know their flaws and deepest fears. The challenges cannot be obvious in the way that the reader will automatically know how they are to be resolved. The mountain needs to appear so high, that ascending to the top is impossible. What is the worst thing that could happen to your character? What or who stands in their way? Here are some things you could have happen to your character.

  1. Give them a back story. Have your character come into the story with a story to tell. In other words, they could have experienced something traumatic before the beginning of the story and now it follows them throughout. Your readers will be instantly engaged with your characters. In one of my stories, my main character lost his best friend in a car accident and now he has to get over it.
  2. A dark secret. Your characters could have a secret that they don’t want anyone else to know in the story. How long can they keep it? Make it harder for characters to keep others from knowing about their ‘dark sides’. Your readers will be eager to see what happens when the secret gets out.
  3. Decisions, decisions. Your character could be faced with a tough decision – one that will bring about consequences no matter what choice they make. People can relate to this because they’ve been faced with ‘forks-in-the-road’ at some point in life. Your reader will want to know what happens next. In one of my novels, my hero is faced with someone from his past that wants him dead, and threatens the woman he loves. Will he risk everything he’s worked for, or simply ignore him.
  4. Put them in a bad spot. A situation that seems impossible to escape. How will they get out? Can they get out? These ‘hook’ your readers and therefore won’t be able to put that book down until your characters are safe. In my novella, my characters are trapped in a room where the entire floor turns red-hot. How will they escape? Think of a similar situation for your characters and see what happens.

 

You want your books to be so engaging that your reader literally won’t be able to put them down. Every character has a dilemma to face. You see it all the time in movies, TV dramas, etc. What will your character go through? Only you will know what that is and how they’ll get out of it.

Categories: Writing & Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Being aware of your readers

Someone once said that good writers are constantly wondering if their writing is good enough for their readers; bad ones have absolutely no doubt about their writing nor do they care if their readers like their writing or not. I didn’t believe this until I one day, while I was working on my novel, I asked myself, “Will my readers like this?” When I put a pen to the paper, I wonder how other readers will perceive my story. Will they understand my characters and get into the story the way I want them to? Ultimately, I won’t know this until my novel is published and readers begin reading it.

We should be aware of our own writing and how readers will perceive it. They are our customers after all; without them to read our stories, what is the point of writing? While no two readers are alike, we should treat our readers equally. They are doing you a favor by buying your book and reading it. Here are a few things to keep in mind when being aware of your readers:

  • don’t assume they will understand everything in your story; explain things which they might not understand.
  • make sure your characters and stories are real to YOU, or they won’t be to your reader.
  • when editing, switch yourself to reader mode. Read your story as a reader and not as a writer. Is your story flowing as well as when you first wrote it?
  • what type of readers are you targeting? What is it they are looking for in stories? Can they relate to your characters?
  • be aware of the vocabulary you using in narrative and dialogue. Unless you’re writing literature, don’t use advanced vocabulary; you don’t want your readers having to consult the dictionary every two pages
  • not every reader will like your story. There’s always one person that just doesn’t find your book appealing – accept it and move on.
Categories: Writing & Inspiration | Tags: , , , , ,

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