Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Another Disappointment

Mindy here, dragging my heals once again as yet another Bachelor/Bachelorette fails to choose the right person. I mean come on, I invested myself in these people. I became attached to them, accepted their idiosyncrasies, and they totally let me down. Sigh. Makes me not want to watch that show ever again.

Suddenly, it dawned on me. As writers, we do the same thing. We invite readers to invest in the lives of our characters. And if we want them to keep coming back, we'd better not let them down.

So how do we do that?


Now I know it hasn't been that long since I've talked about characterization, but it's a subject definitely worth revisiting.

A story is a journey. One filled with highs and lows, twists and turns. To do this, our characters need:

  • Conflict, both internal and external
  • To have a past. Who we are is a result of things that have happened to us in our lives.
  • To be flawed. After all, they are human.
  • To be taken places they do not want to go emotionally. Let your reader experience their joy and their pain.
  • Fears. What is their worst fear? Now make them face it.
  • To contradict themselves. What would make them do something they say they'd never do?

In addition to all of these, our stories need to have a satisfying ending. Ever watched a movie then at the end feel like you've wasted your time? Like you've been robbed? If our readers feel like they've wasted their time, they're not likely to pick up another one of our books.

Have you ever read a book or seen a movie that left you feeling gypped? How did you react? If it was a book, did/would you read that author again?

Happy Tuesday!


  1. If the book that left me unsatisfied is written by a well-known author whom I normally enjoy reading, then I just get rid of the offending book. If the story was written by an author I've never read before, then I tend to not buy any future books by that author.

    So, Mindy, I guess the real crux of the matter is...do we want our readers to come back for more? To read future stories we dream up?

    I'm still working on characterization myself, and you're right about it being a topic that needs to be revisited. I revisit it often!

  2. If I've read a book where I was very disappointed, I may not read that author again. And I hate going to a movie and being disappointed... especially after paying so much to see it and have snacks, LOL!