Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bring Your Characters to Life by Showing Their Reactions

by Jodie Renner, editor, author, speaker

I'm back at The Kill Zone blog again today, with concrete advice on bringing your characters and
story to life on the page by showing their perceptions, reactions and feelings.

Here's the beginning of the blog post, and a link to the rest of it:

A novel won’t draw me in unless I start caring about the protagonist and worrying about what’s going to happen to her – in other words, until I get emotionally engaged in the story. And it’s the same for most readers, I think. For me to warm up to the protagonist, he has to have some warmth and vulnerability and determination, some hopes and insecurities and fears.

As readers, to identify with and bond with the protagonist – and other characters – we need to see and feel their emotions and reactions to people and events around them. When the character feels and reacts, then they come alive for us and we get emotionally invested and start to worry about them and cheer for their small victories. Once you have your readers fretting about your hero and rooting for him, they’re hooked.

As the late, great Jack M. Bickham said, “Fiction characters who only think are dead. It is in their feelings that the readers will understand them, sympathize with them, and care about their plight.”

Show those feelings.

So bring your characters to life by showing their deepest fears, worries, frustrations, hopes and jubilations. If readers see your hero pumped, scared, angry, or worried, they’ll feel that way, too. And a reader who is feeling strong emotions is a reader who is turning the pages.

For more, including specific tips on achieving this, click HERE:


Jodie Renner, a freelance fiction editor specializing in thrillers and other fast-paced fiction, has published two books to date in her series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: WRITING A KILLER THRILLER and STYLE THAT SIZZLES & PACING FOR POWER (which recently won a Silver Medal in the FAPA Book Awards). Both titles are available in e-book and trade paperback.
For more info, please visit Jodie’s author website or editor website, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.
To subscribe to Jodie’s Resources for Writers newsletter (published about 4-10 times a year), please click on this link and fill out the form. Your privacy is completely assured, you won’t receive any spam, ever, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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