Invest in the characters of your book

Learning how to make our characters strong, believable, lovable, loathed, and focused is something we all should strive for as writers. I want to fall in love with my character or hate them so badly I want to see how the book ends. I follow through with the liking of a character. There are some books, but by the time it ends, I wish the one I fell for would go away, as my alliance has shifted to the villain who is suddenly incredible.

If we stick to the physical aspect of what our characters look like, while we may describe the description, one can only go so far with looks. So invest in your characters, go to the root of what makes them who they are, what they are, and why I should, as a reader, get so invested in this one person. Chances are the book will not be read to the end if you don’t.

How strong are the characters in our book? Do they make the reader invested in them relatively soon, or does it drag on? The format is simple: Who? Where? What? How? When? Why?

Simple enough, but then break it down even further. Who did what and where, and how was it done and why? Or you can say how it happens to this other character in the book. The possibilities are endless, depending on how big your cast is in the book.

Also, talk about your character’s weaknesses. For example shows us what they like, fears, hopes, goals, strengths, and more. By doing that, you give your person the best chance of working, whether to be loved or hated. As a reader, the book, no matter how well written, will be either read and honestly reviewed or not read at all.

Invest in your characters, and they will do wonders for your book.

How organized is your writing space?

I have been spring cleaning my office, which is something I have been avoiding for way too long. The office has two full cabinets stuffed with papers that I had to go through one by one. The bookcases were okay. It was simple to use the writing cart on wheels. Yet, the file cabinets were the mother of all tasks.

But as I sorted through sheet after sheet of paper, I found some awesome stuff. I had cards for years and years from my husband with his message inside. I came across some old pictures that made me pause and smile at the memories. I came across stacks and stacks of writing-related papers, whether it was an article, an old notebook from classes, notes from a conference, pictures from conferences I’d attended, and so on.

I have been doing this for a while now, and it has flown. Some have asked me, “Hey, are you still writing?” I get why, and yes, I am. A book has been ready since March of last year. Life gets in the way.

It was great to find photocopies of quotes I have received or made myself. I saw an old calendar of the events, programs, and speaking engagements I have done over the years. It has truly gone by so fast. But it has been an experience for me. I never expected to be doing this when I was younger. Years ago, in fact.

So while it took me several trash bags, a lot of shredding, a lot of filing, and finding room for everything, my office is now in order, and there is a place for everything, so I am organized. That alone was worth it. But the journey to get here was difficult. But enjoyable as I visually scanned my last few years as an author. It has been great. I have met some amazing people and formed long-lasting friendships beyond writing, and I have come to be happy with this.

I hope those who are writers and follow me can say the same: the journey has been worth it.

Has your journey as a writer gone well?

Your book is your brand: Do you help it out?

Years ago, I was reading an issue of Writer’s Digest and came across this topic. At the end, the writer left her Twitter handle. I decided to follow her in hopes of learning more. Since then, I have expanded my brand through Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and a website.

It takes time to cultivate a brand, but it is, in my opinion, vital to each author out there. Once you type the end and the revisions and edits are complete, what then? No matter how you publish, how will you shout to the world about your book? Besides friends and family, how else can you tell people about it?

I started on my brand when I finished the first draft of my first book, “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure.” When I started sending out query letters, the publishers wanted to know where I was online. Thankfully I was able to provide that information.

As I mentioned, it will take some time but start somewhere, anywhere, and grow from there. Trying to be all over the place will exhaust you. The sites that work for you will suffer by you try to do it all. That was how I learned my lesson, trying to be everywhere. I was not giving each site enough love and attention it needed.

In due time it will get easier to update the sites to go and make a post or send out a relevant tweet to your followers. But start somewhere, no matter how small, start. You want your book to shine. It deserves to shine.

The Musings of A New Englander