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Does Your Character Believe a Lie?

 by DiAnn Mills


Lies distort a character’s view of the world. The lens of reality twists the truth, causing the character to react in unforeseen ways, which is win-win situation for the writer. The result is an unpredictable and unexpected plotline fueled by a character who is motivated by a lie.

Have you ever believed a lie? The emotional ramifications can destroy us if we don’t muster the courage to explore the truth. Consider your character. With the personality, culture, and life experiences assigned to them, how does the writer weave a powerful story?

The character who learns he or she has been the victim of a lie faces the devastation of hurt, anger, and betrayal. The person who spoke the fabrication may deny it, and that becomes another issue for the character. To maintain good mental health, the character must reach deep for forgiveness and take cautionary steps for the future. The relationship may or may not ever be restored. Trust must be earned.

How the character responds to the realization of a lie shows the inner character and lays the foundation for a protagonist or an antagonist. The determination of a lie can motivate the character into a positive realm or a negative one.

Does Your Character Believe a Lie?
Lies influence the character’s goals, wants, needs, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, dialogue, behavior, and emotion. When rage drives the character’s actions, unpredictable behavior sets the stage for a page-turning story. Yet the process of weaving all the intricacies of literary techniques into a profound story takes hard work.

But what about the lies our characters accept about themselves? How does a character journey on an adventure when they hold a false outlook of life? Aren’t our characters supposed to embrace strength? How does that affect their decisions and motivate them into action when they accept a distorted truth destined to stop them from reaching their full potential?

Perhaps the problem with our character is not what the writer believes about them, but what the character believes about him- or herself.

Writers develop situations that force a character to face a lie. Those powerful drama-filled scenes move the story in exciting directions, often explaining how and why the falsehood entered the picture. Some characters do not have the courage to accept the truth and will never change their beliefs or values. They flee from scenarios that force them to examine their true selves. The result is a weak character who cowers to life happenings or becomes an antagonist who strikes out in rage.

The origin of a character’s misconception is often rooted in childhood. During the development years, physical, mental, and spiritual stimuli mold a child’s view of where he or she fits in the world and how to cope with life’s trials. Peer pressure and those who are respected can instill admirable or detestable behavior.

The character may believe
  • I have no choice but to be perfect.
  • Life isn’t fair.
  • I’ll never be happy unless I have lots of money.
  • Everyone is out to get me.
  • God’s love must be earned.
  • Without a face-lift and tummy tuck, I’ll never be beautiful.
  • Morals are a personal preference.
  • Laws are to be broken.
  • Relationships are fifty-fifty. Anything less and I’m out of here.
  • The only way for someone to love me is for me to take care of them.
The character may choose to believe
  • No human is perfect, but we strive to do our best. We make mistakes, learn from them, and move forward.
  • Life isn’t fair or easy, but challenges have the potential to grow us into better people.
  • Money buys what we need and sometimes what we want. It’s a vehicle to provide for ourselves and others. True happiness is internal.
  • Bad attitudes result from selfishness. Take steps to put others first in a healthy way.
  • God’s love is unconditional. We can’t do a thing to cause Him to love us more or less.
  • True beauty is an attitude of the heart and how we treat others.
  • Right vs. wrong behavior is established by spiritual and moral resources to show justice, equality, and love.
  • Laws are in force to protect us from danger and keep us safe.
  • Relationships are always 100 percent of what we can give, not what we can take.
  • Caring for others is admirable but caretaking is not the vehicle of self-worth.
For writers determined to create real and unforgettable characters, I encourage the following:
  • Study psychology books, reputable blog posts, and articles that focus on the behavior of one who experiences a lie.
  • Interview counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are trained professionals in human behavior.
  • Explore respected websites that focus on human behavior and counseling techniques. 
  • Stay alert to people and the world. Keep a journal of conflicting emotions that could have resulted from a lie.

When a writer discovers the source of what a character internalizes about him- or herself, the character must choose. Is he or she motivated to change? How does the process work? Will it be painful? Does the character grasp the courage to process the lie and step forward with truth? The result is an impressive novel certain to entertain and inspire readers.




About DiAnn


Does Your Character Believe a Lie?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists and won two Christy Awards, the Golden Scroll, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. DiAnn continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers through her website at diannmills.com.



About Concrete Evidence


Does Your Character Believe a Lie?
On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be . . . until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’s just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam.

Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community.

Releases October 4, 2022.




Giveaway*


Please leave a comment for DiAnn for a chance to win a copy of Concrete Evidence.


*Giveaway courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers and is subject to giveaway terms and conditions of Seekerville and Tyndale House Publishers. US Mailing addresses only.

Giving Distinctive Voices to the People in your Head with guest Sandra Orchard

 

Giving Distinctive Voices to the People in your Head with guest Sandra Orchard
 

Hi everyone, Sandra Orchard here. After a long hiatus from blogging, I’m delighted to be back celebrating the release of my 25th novel with a post about voice.

Boughs of Folly is my tenth cozy mystery written as part of multi-author sets. In such cases, maintaining authentic voices for characters, that are simultaneously being written about by other authors, carries unique challenges.

When my first novel released, a family member said she felt distracted while first reading it, because she heard my voice in her head. Thankfully, after a few scenes, my characters took on lives of their own for her, and she forgot about me. But her comment made me ever cognizant of the importance of ensuring the “voices” of my stories are true to the story being told.

So, how do we do that?

First let me clarify what I mean by “voice.” Voice can refer to:

1) An author’s unique style of storytelling that characterizes much of his or her work.
2) A particular story’s narrative voice—i.e. the voice in which the story is told. Or…
3) The characters’ actual voices spoken in dialogue.

The best advice I’ve heard with regards to developing #1 is to not try. Some say your distinctive voice will emerge the more you write. But be cautious about imitating others who you presume know more than you. I’ve observed, especially with newbies, that in our efforts to incorporate all the seemingly wonderful advice we receive from critiquers, we can quickly dilute or lose the fresh voice of our original piece. I suspect this is because when you’re passionate about a story and write with abandon, oblivious to ‘the rules’, your unique voice is given full rein. Editing, on the other hand, uses the left side of your brain and can alter it drastically.

Giving Distinctive Voices to the People in your Head with guest Sandra Orchard
So, instead of searching for your voice (as per #1), I recommend mastering the art of point of view, to help you develop strong narrator and character voices.

Honing this skill has proven invaluable to me in writing multi-author continuities featuring the same main character, including for Boughs of Folly. Now in theory, the first lucky author of a continuity gets to set the tone the rest of us must mirror for each continuing character. And Boughs of Folly is book one in the Jingle Bells Mysteries set. However, the three-book bundle, features long-established characters from the realm of the Chocolate Shoppe Mysteries.

So, I acquainted myself with all the wonderful quirky characters by immersing myself in the original series. The stories are set in Georgia, but the series editor advised me that authors were urged to use a light touch when it came to “Southernisms.” My goal while reading was to know the characters so well, that I’d hear their voices in my head. To that end, I focused on the distinctive nuances of each continuing characters’ voice. These are the same sorts of nuances you can use to create characters that stand apart from each other.

Tip: Sitting in a crowded place, such as an airport or shopping mall, and listening to the conversations going on around you is a great way to discover fresh voices for your characters.

Ready to assess the voices in your stories?

Let’s evaluate your characters’ dialogue first:

Does it vary in sentence structure? Some people talk in long run-on sentences. Some talk in short, disjointed blips. How about vocabulary? Does one character use few words, while another exhibits verbal diarrhea? Do some characters use big words or technical jargon, while others use slang? Does your English professor use perfect diction? Or do you characterize your jock by having him be well read and speak with perfect diction? How about each character’s grammar? Does it vary?

Do characters share the same pet words? They shouldn’t. But this might be the chance for you to use all those adjectives and adverbs, you’ve been trained to replace with strong nouns and verbs. Because in dialogue, your flowery character can be as flowery in her language as you want. Just ensure she’s the only one who speaks that way. Unless of course your sarcastic character chooses to imitate her.

If you choose to give a character a unique dialect, avoid tricky spellings. Instead, show the dialect through word choice, word order and sentence construction etc.

Finally, notice what isn’t in the dialogue. What’s not being said, or the subtext of what’s said or done, often characterizes the reader far more than his or her actual dialogue. In other words, what counts isn’t what your character says, but the effect of what he meant.

If you’re writing a continuity, your editor’s input is invaluable in keeping characters’ voices consistent from one author to the next, and the continuity guidelines will likely determine who the narrator’s voice or voices will be.

Quick tips for Choosing your Narrator

Whether writing in first or third person, the character you choose to narrate the story (or scene) has a huge impact on your story’s tone. In my romantic suspense, where my hero and heroine take turns narrating scenes, I choose the character with the most to lose.

In addition to all the elements of voice discussed above, other elements also come into play in your narrator’s voice. For example, can the reader trust the narrator? Do his thoughts correspond with his speech and actions? Does she have a secret? Is he hiding a sin or regret or deep-seated fear? The more you flesh out your characters with flaws, fears, secrets etc., the more you can layer their emotions into the narrative, so the reader experiences them, too.

Most importantly, have fun getting into character!

Speaking of having fun…

Giveaway:

I’m giving away 25 books as part of my 25th book celebration. Leave a comment or question about “voice” to throw your name into the hat for tomorrow’s draw for a copy of one of my earlier titles.

And…enter the rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of 10 copies of Boughs of Folly.

And…stop by my blog to see the free E books and special price promos my publishers are offering as part of my celebration. (current limited time offers—Deadly Devotion is free & Identity Withheld, a Love Inspired Suspense, is $1.99 )

~*~*~*~*~

Giving Distinctive Voices to the People in your Head with guest Sandra Orchard
Sandra Orchard writes fast-paced, keep-you-guessing stories with a generous dash of sweet romance. Touted by Midwest Book Reviews as “a true master of the [mystery] genre,” Sandra celebrates the publication of her 25th novel in 2022. She writes for Love Inspired Suspense, Revell and Annie’s Fiction. And her novels have garnered numerous awards. From Niagara Canada, when not dreaming up fictional characters, Sandra spends most of her time playing with the characters in her real life—aka her little grandchildren.

Connect with Sandra at: website | Facebook | Amazon

About Boughs of Folly:

Jillian Green’s holiday cheer nosedives when her great aunt’s friend, Herbert, is killed while helping them decorate for a fundraiser. But the case is more tangled than a strand of twinkle lights, and if Jillian can’t uncover the killer, Herbert’s night might not be the only one silenced this Christmas.

Boughs of Folly is part of a three-book Jingle Bells Mysteries bundle, releasing June 25, 2022, and sold exclusively by Annie’s Fiction

Giving Distinctive Voices to the People in your Head with guest Sandra Orchard
 

Don't forget to enter to win a copy of one of Sandra's earlier titles by leaving a comment or question about 'voice' below!

Listen when Your Characters Speak

Listen when Your Characters Speak

 

Hello, the camp! Tasha Hackett here, author of Bluebird on the Prairie and many more to come. Mary asked if I would share something I’ve learned as an author. Of course my first thought was: “Everything. Duh. I’ve learned everything.” I went from knowing nothing, to learning everything and still somehow knowing nothing. But aside from the tangible how-tos, I’ve learned how to listen when my characters speak.

Listen when Your Characters Speak

Chances are, they have a lot to say, and if you can figure out how to listen to them, you’ll get along much better. How often do you think you’ve made up a story in your own head with your very own make-believe characters, but then they’re off doing and speaking whatever they very well please? We would all do well to listen when our characters speak. I thought I was writing a story about this, but it turned out to be about this. Has that ever happened to you? Though I don’t have as many books under me as some of you, with one published, one drafted, and a thousand to be written, in my time writing these two books, I’ve learned how important it is to listen when my characters speak.

Bluebird on the Prairie started as a whim. My husband and I brainstormed a silly story where Zombie Apocalypse meets Hallmark Western Romance. If you know me at all, you’re already laughing. Tasha is not about to write a book about zombies. Vampires, maybe. Zombies, ew. Once I started writing, I got to know Zeke and Eloise and learned right away they had a story to tell about hope (that didn’t include zombies in any way, shape, or form.) Zombies were out and western was out. I was left with a Swedish prairie town in Nebraska, a widow living with her brother who’d shut herself away from love, and an orphaned traveler on his way to California.

Listen when Your Characters Speak

July 7, 2018. I wrote my WHY: “I want my reader to feel hope at the end. Because, to me, novels are an escape to a better place. A place where the hero is strong and brave. A place where people get back up again.

“I want the story to feel real, but I always want LOVE TO OVERCOME. I want God’s grace to expand into my imaginative world and show readers the vast goodness of God’s plan. I want my novels to inspire hope back into the lives of the readers.

“I want the reader to feel the truth of Eloise’s pain and grief and then grow WITH her as she begins to trust God. I want the reader to feel hope that God is real and that he not only sees, but cares and has a plan for us. And I will do it all with a story that pulls the reader into this world where they never feel they’re being preached at.”

Listen when Your Characters Speak

Listening to my WHY changed everything. I found I couldn’t write Eloise’s story. This was no longer a silly story where guy-meets-girl and they both run to their happily-ever-after. It suddenly became so much more and I was scared I couldn’t do Eloise justice. Eloise was a young widow, and I didn’t know how to give her a happily-ever-after. You can’t FIX grief. There’s no MOVING ON from grief.

Grief is an emotional suffering caused by or as if by a bereavement. An emotional suffering when something you love has been taken away. How could I write this happily-ever-after for Eloise? The more I got to know her, the more I realized I could NOT send a man to waltz into her life and make everything better. I just wasn’t going to do that. It’s not realistic. Certainly it’s not healthy.

Listen when Your Characters Speak

I believe other authors would agree with me when I say, sometimes the stories we write don’t even feel like our stories, but these characters come to us and we have to get to know them and find out what they need and what they want, and then let them tell their own story. That’s not something I understood until I experienced it. Sometimes Zeke would say things to Eloise and I would simply step back and think, “Whaaa? You are so smart. Where you did you learn this?”

Listen to this one. I found it written in my notes, but I didn’t put it in the novel because it’s so good I honestly don’t know if I stole it from someone else and didn’t credit them. From Zeke’s outlook in life: “Hardship does not have the power to rob us of hope for the future.” And, “Happiness and love are granted to all who SEEK IT OUT.”  My character said that. Not me. I’d never say that. Tasha would say, “Fool me once . . . I’m going to be super, doubly sure to be prepared and put up lots of walls so I don’t get hurt again.” Zeke knew better, and he’s a pretty wise dude. He’s clumsy as all get out and oblivious to most things. But still. He’s got great morals.

Listen when Your Characters Speak


There I am, back in 2018 trying to write a book, but I can’t figure out what to do for my character Eloise. Because I hadn’t yet found the hope after my own grief. How could I possibly write it for her when I didn’t understand it myself? I’m not (and wasn’t) a widow. But I understand a fair amount of grief. I’m telling you today there is hope after grief. I’m also the girl who couldn’t write that story when I first tried. God had quite a bit of work to do in me (and will continue until I die). I had my fourth child and stopped writing for a season while I learned a hard and beautiful lesson. Namely: There is hope after grief. Zeke and Eloise kept dancing around in my imagination and I kept listening and getting to know them. Finally they were ready to share the rest of their story in Bluebird on the Prairie. A bluebird symbolized hopeto me with a nod to Emily Dickinson's poem, “Hope is the thing with feathers,” and what with the bluebird coming back each spring.

Bluebird on the Prairie is available wherever books are sold and my website. You can find it at Walmart.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or my favorite: request from any local bookstore. As a special thank-you, email me a copy of your receipt and I’ll send you Four Ways to Recover Hope. These are four tangible things that I found to be encouraging as I processed my own struggles.

I’d love to get to know you, too! How have your characters been speaking to you? How have you rediscovered hope? You can find me on Instagram @hackettacademy and my website www.TashaHackett.com and email tasha@tashahackett.com

 Bluebird on the Prairie

by

Tasha Hackett

Listen when Your Characters Speak

Haunted by nightmares after her husband's death, Eloise Davidson struggles to find peace. Avoiding the town and the people in it has become part of who she is. When she meets a traveler who falls at her feet, she is more than willing to forget the whole embarrassing thing ever happened. Eloise has enough to worry about without entertaining silly daydreams. But when Zeke threatens the safety net she’s built around herself, she’s not prepared for how her world will change.

 

Amazon.com: Tasha Hackett: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

 

Bluebird on the Prairie : Hearts of the Midwest - 1 (Paperback) - Walmart.com

 

Bluebird on the Prairie: Hearts of the Midwest - 1 by Tasha Hackett, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

 

 

Character and Characterization by Seekerville Guest Jennifer Beckstrand

Character and Characterization by Seekerville Guest Jennifer Beckstrand
Hi Dear Friends! Debby Giusti here to introduce Jennifer Beckstrand, a Bestselling Author of Amish Stories, who is blogging with us today. She's written an amazing post that I'm sure you'll enjoy. 

Character and Characterization: How to make your characters true, believable, and unforgettable! 

Join me in giving Jennifer a warm Seekerville welcome!

Here's Jennifer:

I’m so excited to be here today to talk about one of my very, very favorite topics: writing great characters.

 All great stories are about great characters. How do we as writers bring our characters to life?

Have you seen the movie “Hitch” with Will Smith and Kevin James? If you haven’t or even if you have, watch this scene on YouTube where we’re introduced to Albert Brenneman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIBzVc3kJAM 

Be sure to come right back to join in the discussion.

Albert Brenneman is one of my favorite characters ever. In the movie, the director does several things to reveal Albert’s character to us and more importantly, make him instantly likable.

·        Albert spills mustard on his pants—This immediately makes him relatable. We’ve all felt klutzy on occasion.

·        He displays wide-eyed hope, and we can tell he sincerely likes the girl he wants to get together with. This makes him likable.

·        He doubts himself again and again and has us rooting for him from the very beginning. This makes him vulnerable.

·        He doesn’t have a perfect body or perfect hair. He wears glasses, and he gets down on himself for saying the wrong thing. This makes him believable.

Think of your favorite characters in books and movies. Why are they your favorites?

I could spend three weeks talking about how to create amazing characters, but none of us have that much time, so I’m going to focus on just a few aspects of creating great characters.

Character and Characterization by Seekerville Guest Jennifer Beckstrand

#1 Characterization is the sum of all observable qualities of a human being.

Character and characterization are different. Some people call characterization the driver’s license information. I like to think of characterization as the first few layers of a character.

Characterization can reveal character or hide it. What are some characterizations of Albert Brenneman in the above YouTube clip that reveal character?

·        His photo: He’s awkward

·         His clothes: He’s a professional but not a player

·         His insecurity: He’s vulnerable, sincere, and lovable

 In his must-read book, Story, Robert McKee says, “The revelation of true character in contrast to characterization is fundamental to all fine storytelling.”

Character and Characterization by Seekerville Guest Jennifer Beckstrand

#2 True Character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure—the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.

What choices does Albert make in this scene that reveal more of his character?

He is eager to give Allegra a pen, he gets frustrated, he decides to walk away.

What choices does Hitch make that reveal more of his character?

            He listens, he laughs, he encourages, he’s kind

Pressure and conflict often reveal a person’s true character. “Pressure is essential. Choices made when nothing is at risk mean little.” (Story by Robert McKee)

Robert McKee gives a good example of pressure revealing character:

Consider this scene: Two cars motor down a highway. One is a rusted-out station wagon with buckets, mops, and brooms in the back Driving it is an illegal alien- a quiet, shy woman working as a domestic for under-the-table cash, sole support of her family. Alongside her is a glistening new Porsche driven by a brilliant and wealthy neurosurgeon. Two people who have utterly different back- grounds, beliefs, personalities, languages-in every way imaginable their characterizations are the opposite of each other.

Suddenly, in front of them, a school bus full of children flips out of control, smashes against an underpass, bursting into flames, trapping the children inside. Now, under this terrible pressure, we'll find out who these two people really are.

Who chooses to stop? Who chooses to drive by? Each has rationalizations for driving by. The domestic worries that if she gets caught up in this, the police might question her, find out she's an illegal, throw her back across the border, and her family will starve. The surgeon fears that if he's injured and his hands burned, hands that perform miraculous microsurgeries, the lives of thousands of future patients will be lost. But let's say they both hit the brakes and stop.

This choice gives us a clue to character, but who's stopping to help, and who's become too hysterical to drive any farther? Let's say they both choose to help. This tells us more. But who chooses to help by calling for an ambulance and waiting? Who chooses to help by dashing into the burning bus? Let's say they both rush for the b u s - a choice that reveals character in even greater depth.

Now doctor and housekeeper smash windows, crawl inside the blazing bus, grab screaming children, and push them to safety. But their choices aren't over. Soon the flames surge into a blistering inferno, skin peels from their faces. They can't take another breath without searing their lungs. In the midst of this horror each realizes there's only a second left to rescue one of the many children still inside. How does the doctor react? In a sudden reflex does he reach for a white child or the black child closer to him? Which way do the housekeeper's instincts take her? Does she save the little boy? Or the little girl cowering at her feet? How does she make "Sophie's choice"?

Character and Characterization by Seekerville Guest Jennifer Beckstrand

#3 A compelling character needs to be

Likable

Believable

Relatable

Vulnerable

Not all characters in your book are going to be all of these, especially your villains, but remember that your villain is the hero of his own story. Your main protagonist should be all of these things:

Likable

Is the protagonist someone the reader can root for? I love the first scene in “Iron Man” when Tony Stark is riding in the Humvee with a bunch of soldiers. The way he talks and relates to the other soldiers makes him immediately likable. Albert Brenneman is another character that I think is instantly likable. However, your protagonist doesn’t have to be likable all at once. (Think Ebeneezer Scrooge or Mr. Darcy.) In one of my first Amish books, Miriam’s Quilt, Miriam is quite a snob, but life hands her some setbacks, and she comes to know herself. Then we really start rooting for her.

Believable

Is your heroine too good to be true? Too bad to be true? One T.V. series I loved to watch was Poldark, because I thought Ross Poldark was both deeply good and deeply flawed. I really soured on the series when Ross did something that I thought was out of character—I didn’t find him believable anymore. If you create a 75-year-old granny who fights off bad guys with her fists, you’d better show us that she works out five hours a day and drinks protein shakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Relatable: You want the reader to say, “I totally understand. I’ve been there.” If your characters are too perfect, the reader can’t relate to them. That’s one of the reasons I love the above scene from Hitch. Albert spills mustard on his pants. Most of us have done that and sometimes before a very important appointment or meeting.

Vulnerable: This can mean broken, weak, flawed, or all three. Many of the greatest protagonists are deeply flawed: Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities, Edmund Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo, and Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. Harry Potter is vulnerable because he is a child. Children are easy to make vulnerable. It’s a little harder to do with adults.

These four things add up to characters that readers care about. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all characters, but readers must care about what happens to your main characters.

Several years ago, I saw the movie “All Is Lost” with Robert Redford—and only Robert Redford. Who doesn’t love a Robert Redford movie? As it turned out, “All Is Lost” was a mediocre movie because even though Robert Redford was stranded at sea in a dire situation, I didn’t care what happened to him. Why not? Because the writer and direction didn’t develop his character. I didn’t know who this “man in peril” really was. And so, I didn’t care. Here is part of a review of “All Is Lost” that expressed it perfectly:

Who is this sailor? Where does he come from? Chandor (the director) never sees fit to tell us. His hero remains a deliberate stencil, defined solely by the crisis around him and the actions he takes. Ironically, given the abundance of ocean, All is Lost is an entirely depthless drama. Here is a film that exists purely in the moment, bouncing us inexorably from the bad to the worse. There is no journey towards redemption and no cozy life lesson lying in wait at the end. There's just the sea and the sky and the struggle to survive. 

Plot is essential, but it is well-written characters that really make a great book.

Character and Characterization by Seekerville Guest Jennifer Beckstrand
I hope you’ll check out the characters in my next book, His Amish Sweetheart, which comes out June 28. Eight-year-old twins Alfie and Benji Petersheim will do anything to get rid of their brother—even find him a wife.

Don’t miss this delightful love story about friendship, second chances, and smoke bombs. You’re going to fall in love with the characters!

Preorder His Amish Sweetheart on Amazon, Walmart, and Barnes and Noble.

Our very generous guest is giving away three digital copies of "A Peanut Butter Christmas" which also features the incorrigible twins as they try to create a Christmas miracle for Mary Yutzy. Leave a comment to be included in the drawing!

Follow Jennifer Beckstrand:

  

 

 

 

 

Giving Distinctive Voices to the People in your Head with guest Sandra OrchardListen when Your Characters SpeakCharacter and Characterization by Seekerville Guest Jennifer Beckstrand

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