My sixteen-year-old daughter works at the animal shelter, walking dogs and petting cats, bringing adoptable dogs to local places for public relations, and bathing the ones that have recently healed from an illness. I go along and walk the healthy dogs.
At first, I was afraid I’d want to rescue every animal. And then I worried I wouldn’t be able to keep my anger in check after witnessing jerky people ditching their neglected animals. I wanted to deck every single one of those imbeciles!
When some dogs met us they crouched and shied away. Others wet the ground and trembled. But some came to us with loving kisses, (bad breath and all) eager for any sign of our affection–despite their wounds.
As I plotted my current YA novel, some of what I experienced at the shelter naturally came out–the passion for animals, the desire to save them all, and the loathing for those who harm them. My perfect hero HAD to be someone who had all these traits. But she had to have more, too. Since I was writing fiction, I decided Willow, my main character, would have the ability to SAVE them. HEAL them. Thus, my WILLOW series was born. Willow, a compassionate girl, has the ability to heal abused and injured animals with the power of her fingertips.
When you’re planning your next novel where do YOU find the perfect hero?
1. Who are you?
2. What do you feel passionate about?
3. What matters to you?
4. What do you value?
Chances are if you care about something, others will, too. Give your protagonist that same passion. Make her a loyal, selfless, focused, and determined individual with a goal. And put obstacles in her way of reaching that goal. Have her learn something along the way and poof, you’ve got yourself a great story. (But don’t forget to give her a flaw, too.)
My WILLOW series hasn’t been published yet, but some day I know it will be. How do I know?
First, let me tell you that I don’t consider myself a cocky person. I DO NOT know everything there is to know about writing novels. But, what I do know, is I’ve been studying it for ten years. TEN YEARS. AND I work full time at improving the craft. AND I’m passionate about it.
When we write what we’re passionate about, our writing is better. Much better.
YOUR GOAL: Is obviously to get your story published, but if you focus on writing a good story–something you’re passionate about–and not on who will like it or who won’t, just really concentrate on telling an excellent story, using all the necessary TOOLS, and showing the scenes so the writing disappears and the reader keeps turning the pages to see the story, readers will love it.
So, how do I know my series will be published? Because:
1. I feel passion for my story and my characters
2. I’m focused on telling the story and not worrying about if readers will or will not like it
3. I’m studying the craft and using the necessary TOOLS like showing and not telling, creating suspense and making the reader care
4. I know who my characters are and have given them a voice of their own
YOUR CHALLENGE: Look at what matters to you, and you’ll find your hero. That’s where your writing will shine.
Jim Denney has an excellent post on this, too.
What are you writing that others might care about?