Nancy's Books

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Character-Driven Stories, Part III, Calls for submissions

Have you ever read a book and fallen for the character? Do you silently urge the character to keep trying and root for his/her triumph?

Here are a few tips to create likable characters.

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. Do not allow the problems to 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.

A character’s personality can create a bond with readers on the first page of the book. Spring the personality of your main character onto the page early. Kids love humor. If you make your character funny, kids—and editors—will take notice and keep reading.

It’s not necessary to offer the character’s physical description in detail. Many readers like to draw their own conclusions about a character’s appearance, so leave room to engage the reader’s imagination.

Characters don’t have to be good to be likeable, but they should have likeable traits. A demanding cat can display anything but good behavior but it should have some redeeming qualities.

The character needs a sharp intellect, keen wit, or some quality that will make him/her able to stand up to the challenge and triumph over the obstacles.

Make your character memorable. Memorable characters need realistic problems to face, realistic decisions to make, and follow through with realistic solutions.

Check the character traits in your protagonist. Make “likable” one of the top.

Choice Publishing Group has issued calls for submissions for three anthologies within the Patchwork Path series: "Star Spangled Banner," "Star of Hope," and "Baby's Block." Deadlines vary (the first, for "Star Spangled Banner," which is looking for stories and essays "about living the American Dream," is December 31, 2010). Pays: $50/published story. Visit for more information. (via PayingWriterJobs,

Stone Soup welcomes submissions by children through age 13. If you are over 13 we suggest you search Google for a teen magazine where you can send your work.

Send us stories and poems about the things you feel most strongly about! Whether your work is about imaginary situations or real ones, use your own experiences and observations to give your work depth and a sense of reality. Writing need not be typed, as long as it is legible. Include your name, age, home address, phone number, and e-mail address if you have one. Please do not include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
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