DECEMBER

WHAT’S NEW IN PUBLISHING


12-09 - M.L. Buchman

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm Julie Chen

Okay so I’m not Chinese, I've never been a news reporter (a freelance human interest reporter for a local newspaper but not in front of a camera), hosted a reality show, or a daytime talk show, but watching the CBS show The Talk, I can relate to many of the things Julie Chen says about herself.

She has the same standards when it comes to touching, men, and feeling insecure about telling someone there is spinach stuck in their teeth. I can relate to her even though she's married to a TV mogul.

That's what a good writer does then they develop characters for their stories. They mold characters that people can relate to. It doesn't matter if they're a pioneer woman, Duchess, Roman, a vampire, a mermaid, cowgirl, or a CEO of a fortune 500 company. Once the reader relates, they're pulled deeper into the story and feel what the character feels.

Giving a character traits and vulnerabilities every person can relate to makes the character real, someone the reader will root for through the whole book and if written well-beyond the book.

Think about your favorite books. The ones on your keeper shelf. Why are they there? Because you grew to love the characters as you read the story and you couldn't let them go. You keep them around to revisit now and then. Like having lunch with an old friend or going to a family gathering.

What are some of your keeper books? Why? What about the character(s) make you want to return to visit them?

Paty Jager
www.patyjager.net
www.patyjager.blogspot.com

11 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Paty,
I just went through my keeper shelves, they were over-flowing with many treasures. I had no more room so something had to be done. How did I decide whether to keep the book or not?
1. If my one of my 'keeper authors', it stayed.
2. If I smiled when I looked at it, remembering at least some of the story, it stayed.
3. If I know the author, it stayed. So I've all of Delilah Marvelle's books on my shelf.

The Contemporary authors I enjoy include Susan Mallory, Jennifer Cruise, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Janet Evanovich, Nora Roberts. Historical favorites are Julia Quinn, Christina Dodds, Anna Campbell, Stephanie Laurens.

The books I reread are the earlier ones in a series when I new one comes out if there is a lot of time between them and one's where there is something about the characters that touches my soul. Not a very definitive answer, I know.

Great posts have me think...this one certainly did!

Sarah Raplee said...

Great example, Paty!

My keepers include Agnes and the Hit Man by Jenny Cruisie and Bob Mayer: I could relate to every character in some way.

Then there's This Little Heart of Mine by SEP: As a teenager, I often felt like a square peg in a round hole, like the hero and heroine (and many other young people.) And I fell into unrequited love.

Your post is spot on!

Paty Jager said...

Thanks Judith. You have some excellent sounding keepers.

Hi Sarah, Your keepers also sound like good ones that related to you on a real level.

Lynne Marshall said...

Exactly, Paty! Universal truths always resonate with our readers.

Fun blog. Lots of personality shining through.

Paty Jager said...

Thanks, Lynne. Glad you stopped in.

SamMarie Ashe said...

Great post Paty!

My keeper shelves have many authors but my all-time favorite is Linda Howard. She creates characters I can relate to, and I've read her books over and over and over again, noticing even more subtle nuances each read-through.

Thanks for your insight on what makes great characters!
-Sami

Louisa Bacio said...

I'm still a sucker for Stephen King and his Dark Tower series, and The Stand. So much complexity ...

Sandy L. Rowland said...

Great post.
Characters are everything.
I love those who overcome their fears to become more.
Thanks for sharing and making me think.

Paty Jager said...

SamMarie, Linda is a good pick!
Thanks!

Louisa, I can't read Stephen King. Too scary. I'm glad his characters work for you.

Sandy, Thanks. Me too.

Courtney L said...

I know you've heard it a lot, but great post, Paty! My keeper shelf has Sara Donati, Diana Gabaldon, Amanda Quick, Julie Garwood and Stephanie Meyer. I've read and reread and reread all of these authors simply because their characters infuse deep inspiration. I grab the feelings those characters invoke within me and create stories based on how I want my readers to feel while they're enjoying my work. Your post, as with the other responses you've already received have indicated, made me think!

Tam Linsey said...

When I think of characters on my keeper shelf, I have to say the Vampire Lestat. I know - not romance at all. But wow, what a character! And flawed through and through. Why do we love him so much?