Kim wants to know if there’s an optimal number of characters to include in a novel. That’s a great question because we want to hit the balance between the claustrophobia of too few characters and the confusion of too many characters.
There’s never going to be a ‘one size fits all’ guideline for any aspect of writing. Every story is different, so some advice doesn’t apply to us. What’s right for one genre might not be right for another genre. Ditto for the point of view of the story. Or the characters. Or the plot.
Many stories “strike out” with readers in the first chapter. So our opening pages are just as critical to sales as our book cover, title, back-cover blurb, etc. Let’s take a closer look at cliches to avoid and tips to make those pages work for us.
If we want our protagonists to seem heroic, they need to have strong traits. Yet at the same time, if we want our protagonists to be relatable, they need have vulnerabilities. This is never an easy balance, especially when clichés fill our heads about what a “strong character” means.
Writing can be a difficult career. Writers can be lonely, plagued by self-doubt, faced with rejections that feel personal and judgmental, and expected to be good at everything (creative and a sales/marketing person!). Yet we do it anyway. We must have our reasons…beyond sheer insanity, I mean.
If we write our story well, every aspect of the story will contribute to the overall picture and create an impression for the reader. There aren’t any unimportant details in a well-written story. And that means the careers for our characters shouldn’t be an afterthought either.
Many books recently on the bestseller lists have been part of series. From the Divergent series to the new cliffhanger and serial books, series are a popular trend. But what if we don’t naturally write series? Will we be left behind? The “lessons learned” section in my post about Beverly Kendall’s self-publishing report reiterated the […]
We have a hard time defining literary fiction. Society gives us assumptions on the relative value of genre vs. literary fiction, but those assumptions miss the point. Assigning value judgments to the labels “literary” and “genre” doesn’t make sense because preferences are subjective opinions and there’s no “better” or “worse.”
Reading is subjective. The stories some of us hate, others love. Personally, I have no interest in non-genre stories. This is not a sign of my inability to think deeply, but rather a personal preference. Mary Buckham’s ideas about the differences between literary and commercial fiction made me wonder about this preference.