Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Insecure Writer's Support Group: January 2021

 


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has assembled another great bunch of co-hosts for this month: Ronel Janse van Vurren, J. Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner, Sandra Cox, and Louise-Fundy Blue.


Be sure to check out the IWSG website for lots of great resources for writers!


January 6 question - Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books?

That is an excellent question. For me, bad characterization can throw me out of an otherwise good story. I don't need the main character(s) to be perfect. Far from it. A flawed character feels real more real and can be quite engaging. What I do need is a character with a good voice that I can mesh with. I need a character who leaps off the page and brings me along for the ride with them. If their personality is too flat, or if it rubs me the wrong way, I can't always bring myself to read the story, no matter how good the other elements might be.


How does someone write a compelling character that keeps readers turning the page? I wish I knew all the secrets. I try, and sometimes I succeed. Sometimes something is off and I can't quite put my finger on it. I guess the key is to keep writing and to keep trying.


Happy New Year everyone!




21 comments:

  1. You've had the winning story in two IWSG anthologies - I believe you do have a grasp on writing compelling characters.

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  2. That's definitely a good point -- I love a great character who can pull me into a story.

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  3. I agree with you that characters need to flawed but ones that are compelling. You have to care about the characters to invest reading about them.

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  4. I agree: the characters are the most important aspect in fiction. Although it is subjective which character is compelling and which is not. The characters some readers like, others might hate.

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  5. Characters carry the story and readers want those on the edges, not the average quiet ones in the middle. They're boring.

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  6. If I can't care about the character, I can't care about the story. Luckily, I care pretty easily.

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  7. I used to tell my students, "No one would care about Cinderella if she was not such a hard worker and her sisters weren't so evil." Characters make the story!

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  8. I prefer believable characters too. I can deal with stories that don't have them but only if the story and pacing of it is good and well developed, but I prefer well developed characters in good stories.

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  9. It's true. You can have an amazing plot, but if the readers don't like the characters, they'll end up finding another story.

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