- CONFLICT - INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL
Use internal narrative to trigger emotions that make your character memorable, but know that some people prefer text instead of italics. If using internal thoughts, limit your italics. What your character contemplates defines him/her as a person, making him/her either sympathetic or not. Think carefully before you decide because everything in your character's brain will determine how your reader perceives him/her to be. If you prefer, you can demonstrate conflict by personality. Does he/she like to fight, argue, is the person fair in dealing, honest, dishonest. You decide, but remember, most leopards don't change their spots.
The reader has to care about your story in order to make it past the first chapters. Remember, perfect and uneventful lives are boring.
How do you make the reader care: Begin your story with a hook, and spoon feed the character's backstory a little at a time. DON'T cram too much backstory into the beginning of the book and bore your reader to death. UNRAVEL the backstory an inch at a time. Make your reader want to know more about your character by hinting at things...in other words, taunt, tease and tantalize.
- DEFINE YOUR CHARACTERS
Make your characters real and believable. Insecurities are part of life, and most readers appreciate being able to identify with your hero/heroine.
- USE EMOTIONS
Tigger emotions. No one sees an Amber Alert and doesn't wonder how the parents must be feeling.
Cheryl uses Method Writing, which puts her readers in the leads shoes. She gives her characters goals, fleshes out the people about whom she writes, and makes them real. She becomes them to know how they feel or react.
Next installment, we'll talk about the middle of the book and the importance of keeping up the pace, writing style, and fulfilling your goals.