Nancy's Books

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Likeable Characters

So you want to write a marketable manuscript in 2015? Begin with a likeable character, one that readers will want to triumph against unfavorable odds.

Give the character a straightforward name that is easy to pronounce and makes a good impression. Sure, unique names will works but simple names will too. The name should fit the era of the story. When I was writing AMAZING GRACE, a WWII story, I decided to name a character in honor of my critique partner who helped me so much with the manuscript. When I wrote Sandi, my critique came to my rescue and suggested I use Sandra instead, because it was more common in that period of history.
The character should make a good first impression with the reader. The good impression can be based on the character’s flaws. Figure out your character’s weakness and proceed with an incredible problem that preys on that weakness. The main character should shoulder the main load. The problems should not be so overwhelming, the character cannot triumph; instead use the story to play out the character’s struggle and ultimate victory.  Let the other characters in the story underestimate the protagonist. This will give him/her a chance to grow and prove them wrong by the end of the story. The protagonist should never realize that s/he will succeed until the very end.
Readers root for characters that grow and change. A flawed character reflects real life. No one is perfect, right? Flawed characters are easier to like than those that are perfect or think they are.
Next week, I’ll discuss more ways to write a likeable character.
Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
TEEN GIRLS THAT WRITE. This blog is for teen girls.  It gives teens information about scholarships, fellowships along with writing tips. It’s for teens who want to write books, screenplays or just about anything. Teens have the power to do anything and this blog is to help them get to where they want to go.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
C The Binnacle Twelfth Annual Ultra-Short Competition. "The Binnacle will sponsor its Twelfth International Ultra-Short Competition in the 2014-2015 academic year. We are looking for prose works of 150 words or fewer and poetry of sixteen lines or fewer and fewer than 150 words.  All works should have a narrative element to them.....A minimum of $300 in cash prizes will be awarded, with a minimum prize of $50. At least one of the prizes will go to a [University of Maine-Machias] student. Please submit no more than two works total, prose and/or poetry."
Submissions deadline: March 15, 2015

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