In order to write a novel worth reading one needs to, “learn to be three people at once: writer, character, and reader.” - Nancy Kress (Author of Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints) Unless you’re writing a fictitious biography, a writer needs to get out of their own mind and into the minds’ of their characters and readers.
How can we do this?
Life is beautiful and messy all at the same time. BUT it’s the mess that makes life worth living. Without challenges, beauty becomes mundane living. As authors, how do we stay clear of the mundane within our novels? Before we jumped into the character’s mind… as the writer we first need to slip into the mind of our readers. Below we’ve mapped out FIVE easy steps to successfully morph the writer, character and reader into one.
1. Establish the Genre
Establishing the genre of your book is going to help develop true dynamic personalities within your writing. If your novel is Science fiction, no need to have the main characters focus on their intimate relationship with one another… Unless you determine the genre is a Science-fiction Romance* By understanding the genre of your novel you will be able to smoothly develop the characters without loosing the overall story.
2. Who Are Your Readers
Once you determine the genre… let’s say, Romance, decide who you will gear your book towards. I know, I know… we want EVERYONE to read our novels but having a group of people who understand you as a writer and your characters will make your novel a novel worth reading.
3. Give Characters Relevant Problems to Genre and Readers
Does it make sense to put a pop star meeting her father for the first time in outer space? Probably not. Relate your character’s problems to the genre and your readers.
4. Characters Should Solve Problems
Don’t let the plot solve the problem. Why didn’t J.K. Rowling shut down Hogwarts and force all the students to go home until next year while the professor took care of Voldemort? Take your characters and make them find the solutions within your novel.
5. Stay True to Yourself as an Author
Don’t forget whose writing the book. You are! Challenge the characters and the readers with your beliefs and thoughts and your novel will be a novel worth reading.