Hello little writers! Between my my fiverr.com gig and the August's Camp Nanowrimo, I’ve been so busy lately! And on top of everything else, BCITW (Best Cat in the World) and I have been mesmerized by the Olympics. It’s been a very dramatic two weeks, hasn’t it?
But, the coverage got me thinking. They spend quite a lot of time talking about the athletes, telling us who they are, where they live, what their successes and failures have been in the past, and how they came to be on the world stage we see them on now. If medal counts and rankings and the events themselves were all that mattered, why would they spend so much time on biographical information?
Because, even in a sporting event, characters matter.
Victories have no thrill and defeat is robbed of its agony if we do not know and care about the people involved. It got me thinking, even if it’s not fiction, even if it’s sports journalism, the audience has to care about the characters involved. Otherwise, they do not care about the events that happen to them. Sometimes the events motivate the plot, sometimes the characters do. That’s just the way fiction goes. But, at the end of the day, nothing is more important than getting your readers to care about your characters.
Here are some quick tips:
1. We’ve all heard “Show, don’t tell.” This goes double for your characters. Don’t tell us how your character feels. Describe their reactions, their posture, and their body language. Then we’ll feel your characters’ emotions with them. Images of the Olympic athlete’s emotional responses are what we remember. Create those images with your words!
2. Allow your characters to make mistakes. Watching your character fall and get back up again is so much more beautiful and moving than a perfect score.
3. The road to gold is never smooth. The obstacles and setbacks that your characters have to overcome are as important as the victory. They make the victory that much sweeter.
It’s been an amazing couple of weeks. Keep reaching for the writing gold!