I was thrilled when I finally added the last word to my middle-grade novel D.I.G.G. I will never forget the moment. I had accomplished something I never thought I actually would. I wrote a book. It took a long few minutes for that realization to set in. “I wrote a book!” I repeated the words many times through a smile that couldn’t have been slapped off. I set the laptop down and picked up my journal only to write the words I wrote a book. It was thrilling. If you have written a book from start to finish you know exactly what I am talking about. If you have not yet completed your first book then you will eventually know what I am talking about.
The story was finished but the work was not done. Revisions were necessary and I began them right away. By the time I got through all of the wonderful comments given to me by a terrific group of writer extraordinaire, I had a manuscript ready to sell.
Because the whole process of trying to sell your book was still very new to me, I was quite naïve. I thought selling it would be much quicker than writing it, but after many months and many rejections I became disheartened. All of the encouraging words that initially waltzed through my mind were replaced by raving words of discouragement.
I thought it was ready. I really did. The rejections kept coming. My pride was rattled. My eyes were opened. Selling a book would not be easier than writing the book. Feedback from a close friend made me see what was missing. She pointed out that she wasn’t able to connect with the characters. The characters were so clear in my mind that I failed to see that they might not be so clear in the mind of my readers.
So, I have decided I’m going back in. My characters need me. If I let them down, I let myself down.
What advice do you have for character building? What makes you fall in love with a character? What makes you lose interest in a character?
All of your answers will help me develop stronger characters.