Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Making Your Reader Like Your Characters #MFRWauthor #MFRWorg #WriteTip #Authors


Have you ever read a story and absolutely hated one or both of the main characters? 

This month I’m looking at how we can make our readers like our character.

The first thing the reader will want to know is who the character is and why should s/he root for them. Why should the reader care what happens to the character?

Recently I saw the film Interstellar with Matthew Mcconaughey, one of my favorite actors. If you haven’t seen this movie—a: I highly recommend it! It was amazing, so emotional and touching. And b: I’ll try not to ruin it for you so in the interest of giving you a heads-up…Spoiler Alert…

I was thoroughly enjoying the movie when it got to the part where one of the characters died. Sadly I didn’t care because I didn’t really know him, which is always a warning that that character will more than likely be the first to get bumped off. But what made it worse is that the character became too stupid to live (TSTL) just before he died. I positively disliked him for his sheer stupidity. After his untimely exit, I didn’t give him a second thought.

In contrast, when the main character almost died I was on the edge of my seat. The difference between these two characters? I never really got to know the first guy, so I wasn’t invested in him or really cared about him, and it was easy to dislike him for his stupidity because there was no reason for his actions. 

Meanwhile, I’d gotten to know the main character, empathized with him, cared about him, so I was invested and wanted him to survive. Plus he fought for his life. The other guy stood around like an idiot and did nothing! 

Don’t get me wrong, we want our characters to be flawed. Without flaws, our characters have no way of changing or growing. 

The flaw is the external representation of the internal fear. What I mean is the flaw is the result of the internal conflict, and internal conflict usually results from a past emotional scar.

For example, what if your hero is overprotective because somewhere in his past a loved one got injured or killed because of something he did or didn’t do. Say, maybe, as a teen he had a girlfriend and they got in a fight while driving home. She demands he pull over and let her out. He’s so mad he does exactly that and leaves her. She is attacked and possibly murdered. The hero has to live with this for the rest of his life. So now he won’t let the heroine out of his sight because he wants to protect her and make sure nothing bad ever happens to her. 

Now, if we make the flaw too dominant we will make the hero unlikable. In order to make your reader like him, you need to let the reader see the reason for his fear and you need to make your hero begin to fight the impulse to be overprotective along the way.  

Don’t make your characters’ issues so deep and dark that you create jerks. On the other hand, if you do have deep dark issues, you need to work extra hard to show the reader why the character is like this and give glimpses of a softer side—hint that this character can change. 


So How Do You Make Your Character Likable?


Start with the core competencies of your character, made up of three aspects: strengths, skills, and desires. As well as having bad experiences from the past that gives us our internal conflicts, we also have happy moments that might inspire us to do, or be something. I like to think that for every bad moment of the past there is a good. As authors we often focus on the bad in order to get a hold of the internal conflicts, but when we let the reader see the good moments that influenced our characters we allow the reader to bond with, and therefore, care about and like, our characters on a deeper level. 

Our overprotective hero from above may be a rescuer at his core. You can give him a job to reflect this and maybe he beats himself up so much because he feels guilty that he couldn’t save the past girlfriend. His black moment can come when we place him in a redemptive situation and give him an opportunity to redeem himself from the past by now saving the heroine. This guy can have a lot of layers, and if we show them to the reader, she will not only understand him, she will fall in love with him. 

The trick is to show the character’s niceness before you show the flaw. That way the reader is already invested and will stay to find out if this character finds her/his happy ever after. 

Do leave a comment in the comment section below. Even if you just want to say "Hi!", I'd be thrilled to know you stopped by.

Until next time, write with clarity and style!



Monique x 


Author/Screenwriter Monique DeVere currently resides in the UK with her amazing hero husband, four beautiful grown-up children, and three incredible granddaughters. 

Monique writes Romantic Comedy stories some call Smexy—Smart & Sexy—and others call fluff. Monique makes no apologies for writing fun, emotional feel-good romance! She also writes Christian Suspense with a more serious edge. 

Monique loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her by visiting her HERE to learn more about her and check out her other books.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Where Do Story Ideas Come From? ASK #MFRWauthor @SaschaIllyvich

The idea for SLOW BURN came from me playing "what if" while watching Burn Notice. About that time, I discovered the metal band Devildriver.  Loving their groove metal sound, I wondered about a female version of the same sort of band, and what that'd look like if she had magical powers and had to be protected. Sonja and Derrick were born of Dez from Devildriver and Michael Westen from Burn Notice!

I am the author of over 52 published titles throughout sixteen years of my career.  While I possess talent, I've been lucky since day one and I remember that lesson every day.

Sascha Illyvichok'sest book is Slow Burn, a Sexy Spy Thriller with Ardent Books.

Tempting secrets of an angel
Seductive mysteries of the beast

Derrick, a former spy, has been asked to protect the sultry Sonja, a death metal singer whose magical voice grabs him by the balls and won’t let go. He’ll protect her, all right…with every part of his body tight against hers.

Sonja uses her voice to purge her fans of their darkness, their hate and hopelessness. But evil forces want to use her magic for their own ends. All she wants, at this point, is safety for herself and her band.

When Derrick and Sonja team up, Sonja does her best to resist the lure of safety he represents, until a radical league that wants her dead propels her into his arms. Will his help be enough? Or will she lose her heart to him, only to be killed in the process of saving the world?

EXCERPT
Tears streamed down her face.
He wanted to kiss them away.
She opened her mouth and screamed; power flowing out from her in a torrential force that clued him in to just how terrified the images were that she saw.
Then he saw them, the faces of the sad, the lonely, the angry, those who had taken their lives. He'd seen a very brief glimpse of the men who captured her, then his mind went fuzzy. Quickly stilling his mind, he leaned over her and did the one thing he could think of to distract her from whatever horrors raced through her head.
He kissed her, muffling her cries.
She sobbed but gave herself openly to the kiss. The power flowing from her stilled, calmness now settled around them. She still shook, her body convulsing in his arms while she tried to flail this way and that, turning from him with such force he had to use his puma strength to overpower her and force her back to the kiss.
Somewhere in that haze of their mingling tongues, the air changed again, this time the scents of terror and agony fading to give way to something dark, yet sensual. Derrick tasted her, pressing against the sweet plumpness of her mouth against his. Eyes open, he gave her hand a light squeeze.
She settled, blinked and looked at him through her wild gaze until her breathing slowed and she seemed to return to the here and now. Sonja shifted against him. She reached for his face, lithe fingers stroked along his chin.
He hardened instantly at her touch. Careful to steady his reaction against rising hormones, Derrick moved, feeling the softness of her breasts beneath his jacket. ""You're still wearing my coat,"" he licked her chin, then bit her neck.
The tears stopped, and she sniffled. Sonja laughed and kissed him back, taking his face in her hands while she slid beneath him. ""It fits. Perfectly in fact. I think I'll keep it.""
ABOUT Sascha Illyvich
Sascha, who was proclaimed by the publishing industry as The Bad Boy of Romance, started writing sixteen years ago. His erotic romances have been listed under Night Owl Romance’s and Road to Romance’s Recommended read lists, and he’s been nominated for a CAPA by The Romance Studio.  Recently, Torn to Pieces was a USA TODAY Recommended Read.

Sascha is a trained and experienced public speaker, and enjoys giving talks and teaching, particularly on aspects of romance, erotic romance, and writing.   He was the former host of The Unnamed Romance Show on Radio Dentata, and is fond of doing guest spots and interviews, on both traditional radio and podcasts.

Sascha writes for Assent Publishing, Red Sage, Secret Cravings Publishing, Sizzler Editions, Totally Bound, and Decadent Publishing.

Find him at http://saschaillyvichauthor.com.

Friday, August 21, 2015

#MFRWauthor HOW TO: Get The Most Out of Conferences @AliceOrrBooks

A Whole Lot of Being Nice
Question: What does it take to get the most out of a writers’ conference?
Answer: "What it takes is a whole lot of being nice."

I put that response in quotation marks because I heard those words from another author. Sabrina Jeffries giving an uplifting talk at – you guessed it – a writers’ conference.

Summer is conference time. Small retreats and huge gatherings punctuate June through August for many writers. Civilians – as in non-writers – are off to the shore or the mountains or the campsite. But we pack up our notebooks and our hopes and head for a convocation of scribes.

What most of us are hoping is that we’ll find the key to getting our work published or better published. I say that isn’t the most important thing we find at these gatherings whether they take place in a grand hotel or a modest cabin or anywhere in between.

The most important thing we find is each other. We make the most of a writers’ conference by maximizing that discovery. We writers are our own most natural allies. Why is that so true? It’s true because we understand one another from the inside.

We understand what it’s like to labor in the formidable publishing marketplace. We understand what it’s like to struggle toward getting our work published and keeping it published. We know how it feels to suffer rejection and disappointment. We also know how it feels to experience the joy of our accomplishments whether they’re large or small.

We also understand we need support in these hard struggles we’ve chosen. We understand that because we need the same support ourselves. With this understanding comes an obligation. Our obligation is to reach out and give what is needed – a little bit of niceness to our writer friends.

All it takes is a few words in a few sentences of encouragement and kindness. Over the several days or even the single weekend of a conference these few words at a time will add up to what Sabrina inspires us toward – a whole lot of being nice.

Our need to succeed tells us to be nice to the max to the agents and editors and instructors we line up for to pitch our projects or sit in front of taking notes. We long to recruit them to become our allies on the inside of the publishing world. In the meantime let’s not forget the allies we already have on the inside of the writing world.

Give what you can. A word of advice or a commiserating ear or a shared laugh – and definitely a hug. As you scurry from class to class or from appointment to appointment take a moment to touch another writer ally with your own whole lot of being nice. I guarantee you will experience a whole lot of feeling good in return.

*************************

Contributed by Alice Orr
Alice Orr loves to write. Especially Romantic Suspense novels of danger and romance. She's well known as a workshop leader, book editor and former literary agent. Now she lives her dream of writing full-time, especially romantic suspense. Alice has published thirteen novels, two novellas and a memoir so far. About her novels, Amazon says, "Alice Orr turns up the heat."

Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her husband Jonathan in New York City.                                                              website  |  blog  |  facebook

A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS

Riverton Romantic Suspense Series Book 2
Mainstream Romantic Suspense
Alice Orr Books

Hailey Lambert loves the North Country though she doesn't love some of her North Country memories. Now her estranged friend Julia is accused of murder and Hailey has no choice. She's got to help.

Mark Kalli has wanted Kalli in his bed forever but she won't give him the time of day. Now she's mixed up in a killing and Mark has no choice but to get involved - whether Hailey wants him around or not.

"This book is the perfect combination of suspense, mystery and romance and will have you turning the pages unable to put the book down." 5 Stars, Amazon Reviewer

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