I now have pretty buttons that link to my tumblr and deviantart, which really need more attention. I'll be working on that (pinky swear!). But I figured I'd let you guys see my artsy side.
Now! Onto the writerly stuff: the post.
I think one of the most important accomplishments of the writer (or any other artist, for that matter) is the connection.
There are two types of connections that I’m going to cover in the next two blog posts:
- The Character-Reader Connection
- The Author-Reader Connection
What establishes the connection between the character and the reader is hard to define. For first person, I think a lot of it has to do with voice. I hesitate to say that it’s easier to create a connection when you’re writing in first person because if the voice isn’t right, the connection won’t be made. It’ll feel fake, stilted, and worst of all—*shudder*—forced.
Third person may take a little longer to establish the connection (since you’re starting right off the bat a step farther from first person by describing the MC as “he” or “she”) but I wouldn’t call one easier than the other. They both have challenges you’ll need to overcome to create that spark.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you what to do with your character to create the connection, though, because I’m still figuring it out myself.
I WILL tell you, however, about some character types that serve as immediate turn-offs that will sever that connection in an instant.
- The Whiner. You know that person who never shuts up about every minor problem they’ve ever encountered EVER and just goes ON AND ON about it until you want to SLAP THEM IN THE FACE WITH A FISH. Yeah. Don’t let your character be that person.
- The Wimp. I’ll offer a small exception to this one: your character may start off as a wimp, but he better not be one for long. Readers have a low tolerance for wimps. This applies to both girls and boys, and I’d say especially girls. Because no one wants to follow a female protagonist who’s waiting for the next Prince Charming to save her. Save yourself girl, and kick Prince Charming in the nads. It’ll make the story a lot more interesting.
- The Jerk. I’m not saying your character has to be nice to make a connection—some of the most interesting characters aren’t. What I AM saying is your character has to be nice sometimes or else the readers will tire of his badass attitude. Here’s a little secret: every badass has a soft side. If he says he doesn’t, he’s lying. Go find it.
- The Pessimist (or the Emo Kid). I’m mean to my characters. Very mean. Once they start going emo on me, I hit them upside the head with a fish. Their pessimism is not welcome here. Like many of the other traits, this is acceptable for a phase, but nothing more than that. I have one character who tries to commit suicide. Guess what? It doesn’t work. Not only does it not work, but he realizes what a moron he was being (with some help from his friend) and mans the hell up. That’s all the emo-ness I will tolerate and he doesn’t do it again for fear of death by fish slap.
Readers need to like your characters at least a little bit in order to connect with them. You want your reader to cheer for your MC and groan when he/she does something stupid. Without the connection, your characters will fall flat and your readers will move on to something else.
Next up on Wednesday: The Author-Reader Connection.
What characters do you think made the best connection? The worst? What do you think attritubted to your connection or lack thereof?