October 31, 2010

Do You Care?

There have been several instances where I've read a novel and either the MC isn't real enough for me or I can't relate to them at all. Sometimes there's no sympathy and that's when I usually stop reading.

Recently, my husband started reading my second novel (and this is part of the reason why I decided to revise a little more). He noted that he was stuck on Chapter 5 because it was hard to sympathize with a MC that was so cold and calculating. There wasn't any real personality to her. I'd also received this little tidbit from a trusted reader and that's when I started thinking seriously about this topic. So I went hunting for ways and advice to bring life and sympathy to those near and dear to me.

Paula Eykelhof of MIRA Books, in an article written by Brenda Novak, says,
“Readers will care about what happens next only if they can care about your characters, connect with them in some way and feel interested in their personalities and their fates.” 
And in her article, 10 Ways To Improve Your Romance Novel, Brenda Novak expands a little further:
Be sure your protagonist always has something important and personal at stake. When choosing your point of view, tell the story from the viewpoint of the character (or characters) with the most to lose.

So I ask: What makes the reader care about your characters as much as you do?


  1. Well, no one has read my work yet so I'm not sure...exactly.

    I hope my characters are relatable but I'm sure it'll be hard as all my characters are a little cruel and ruthless - a side effect of their upbringing (war-torn society). I do hope there is enough there though for them to remain sympathetic. If nothing else.

    Good luck with your revising

  2. Oh yeah, this is a biggie. And with my very first book, mys sister (my first reader ever) was brutally honest with me and couldn't get past chapter 3--so I learned quick ;--)


Leave some chocolate while you're at it.