by Dani Pettrey
My daughter got married last weekend. It’s hard to believe my baby girl is all grown up and now a wife of her own. My husband is a wedding photographer and was able to capture this gorgeous moment.
It was a day of enjoying, making and capturing memories. And, it got me thinking. Isn’t that what we as writers do with our characters? We tell their stories, capture their memories on the page and share them with our readers to enjoy.
How do we do that? The honest answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know if there is a way to truly understand or explain how that’s done, how we invite readers into our characters world, make them care about them, and have them live the story right along with them. But I have three ideas I’d like to share with you.
1) Creating Characters Readers Care About: I try not to overanalyze how my stories come together, but there are a lot of resources on this topic if you’re interested in reading more. I think the best way to learn how to create characters your readers will care about is by reading authors that get it right. Pick an author who writes amazing characters and study them. Don’t copy them, but see what it is about their characters that draw you in. Is it how their characters act? Their internal dialogue? The way they carry themselves?
2) Create an Inviting World: Create a world, a setting that invites readers in, that intrigues them, that makes them want to stay a while. The best way I know to do this is to create a place you’d want to spend time in. Use sensory details to make the setting come alive-what are the sounds surrounding your character, the sights, the scents? Create a vivid picture not only through description, but also through how your character interacts with that surrounding and responds to it.
3) View Your Scenes as Snapshots. Each scene is a story within itself. A piece of a greater picture. A memory waiting to be captured for your reader. Spend time on your scenes. Flesh them out. Make them count. Have them leading your characters somewhere. What about that particular scene do you want to resonate with your characters?
What about you? How do you think we as authors can create characters our readers care about? How do we invite them into our story world and make them want to stay awhile?
Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the author of the bestselling romantic suspense novels Submerged, Shattered and Stranded. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in the D.C. metro area with their two teenage daughters. Learn more at www.danipettrey.com.