Hi everyone, hope you all had a great and safe Halloween. It was the first time we took our son trick-or-treating and I’m not sure who enjoyed it more- us or him. He was so adorable knocking on doors and then trying to reach into their bowls to take extra candy. It’s still hard to believe at times that I am taking my son trick-or-treating; I swear five minutes ago it was me out there. Yikes!
Anyways, today I wanted to write about character connection, more specially my connection to my characters. Last week I felt I really hit a good stride in my writing. I always seem to pick up steam half way through my books because that’s when I really start knowing and understanding my characters. It might sound strange, but once I figure them out, the story starts to write itself. The outcome of the plot situations becomes so much clearer to me because I understand their needs and flaws as people which makes how they react in those situations so much easier to write. In fact, I really feel the ending of the story I originally had planned just doesn’t make sense anymore; the way my main character is acting and feeling right now is telling me she wouldn’t make the choice I thought she might have in the beginning.
In such in a wonderful way, I feel like she is one of my good friends. I feel what she feels; I want what she wants; I fear what she fears. She hasn’t quite reached the emotional climax of the story yet, but she isn’t far away. My focus right now is on her emotions being in a relationship with her current boyfriend and how despite the fact that she just moved in with him, she feels more alone than ever. If I can make the reader feel her anxiety, her longing for love, her confusion then I have done my job. My challenge is to make my characters feel like real people. Believable. That’s hard. I am emotionally involved with my characters because I’ve already spent most of this year with them, paragraph by paragraph, getting inside their heads and deep in their hearts, but how to get the reader to feel that in a much shorter period? Hmm… time will tell I suppose.
One of the tips that stuck with me the most from my Whistler Writer’s Festival was to use beta readers. One of the lecturers said he always uses beta readers before going to an editor. He told us that he had a big group of people who are more than happy to read his book for free in exchange for an honest review. That was something I hadn’t heard of, but definitely made a lot of sense. Why wouldn’t you want the type of people you want to buy your book eventually tell if you before you got to the editing stage if your book had huge issues? It certainly would save on your editing costs.
I’m still half way away from beta readers for sure. I know if I gave my book away now and people told me I had a fix a bunch of issues, I’d probably crumble, cry and then never look at my story again. I know the most important thing right now if to complete the manuscript first and then let myself and other people rip it apart. 🙂
So I better get writing… have a very, very happy weekend. With the weather turning cold, I hope you cuddle up warm, cup of hot beverage in your hand and sink deep into a book.
Til next Friday…