Getting to know characters on the run
January 24, 2019
We once took the time to let readers really get to know a book’s characters. That’s not the way it is anymore.
THE WAY WE LIVE is reflected in the literature we write and read.
There was a time when our lives moved along at a much more leisurely pace.
We weren’t in a hurry.
We left early. We were never late.
We took the time to meet people. We took the time to get to know people.
Then when something happened to them – if something bad ever happened to them – we cared and were genuinely concerned.
That’s the way it was with books and movies as well.
The story, as a rule, started slowly. We were meticulously introduced to each of the characters.
We learned their backstories.
We knew what made them laugh.
We understood what made them cry.
We loved what they loved.
We feared what they feared.
We uncovered their secrets.
And we worried about them.
These people weren’t simply names on a page or on a screen. They were friends. We even had a relationship with those we didn’t like.
The villain is an evil man.
He’s all right.
He’ll kill you if he doesn’t like the way you smile.
Yeah. But he loves his mother.
We saw their flaws.
We were appalled at their greed.
We were aghast at their jealousy.
We hated because they hated.
Something happened on page one hundred or so, and the story took a nasty turn, went into a dastardly tailspin, and took us right along with it.
We were longer merely readers. We were one of the characters – always looking in, perhaps, never really taking part, but always smack dab in the middle of the scene.
Who would die?
Who would fall in love?
Who would be rejected?
Who would hurt the worse?
And sometimes we hurt the worse.
It’s not that way anymore.
We live in a far different world.
It’s hectic. It’s fast-paced. We often meet ourselves coming and going.
And readers prefer their stories the same way.
But they must know the characters in a novella as well as they always did in a saga, and that is the challenge facing writers today.
Make those characters memorable.
Make the reader love them, hate them but care about them.
But be succinct.
Please click HERE to find my thriller novella, Lovely Night to Die, on Amazon.