Looking back at the best of 2019

Well, here we go off into the wild blue yonder of 2020.

Like many of you, I’ve been thinking about the coming new decade. But one can’t move forward without some retrospect. So, I looked back at the most popular posts of 2019 on my blog, and share.

So, without further ado, here is the countdown to Jean’s Writing top 10 posts of 2019.

10- How to tell if your female character is strong

9- What you can do with old stories? 

8- Be smart, and avoid my mistake

7- Want an excellent way to sell your books?

6-  Boost your writing with these awesome free tip sheets

5- Have you lost that new writer feeling?

4- How to write a good one-sentence pitch

3- Write like a professional, get the chapters right 

2- Do you want to know how long to make a story? Size Matters.

And the number one read blog post of 2019 was…

1- Encourage a child’s imagination with a book

I hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane and wish you a wonderful 2020. I can’t wait to see what is written during the next 12 months.

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How to avoid crowding your story with people

I hate crowds. Theme parks, large parties, or squeezing past a million people in Times Square are a few of the things that make me claustrophobic. As if walls of people are closing in around me. Something similar happens when I’m reading a book with too many characters fighting for my attention. Soon, I’ll lay the book down, unfinished, and pick up another. Flipping back and forth to see who is talking drives me nuts.

So, just how many characters are too many?

How do you know who to cut and who to keep?

I’ve always heard it’s best to keep it simple. No one needs to know the entire background of the doorman unless he is the killer.

I discovered a great article that might help you understand how to determine which characters to keep.

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen: Why you shouldn’t overload your novel with characters. By Erica Ellis 

Signs your story has too many people, if a character…

  • Pops up begging to tell their own story. Makes you feel like playing “whack-a-mole.”
  • Diverts the reader’s attention taking them down rabbit holes.
  • Becomes a limelight hog, not content to stay in the shadows.
  • Doesn’t help promote the main character’s progress, moving the plot forward.

Too many characters can remove the intimate feel of a story. Which stops the reader from forming a bond with the main character.

Be sure and click on Erica’s post and read more about how to avoid too many characters in your story.

Me Let's Discuss - Jeanswriting.comIs adding too many characters or subplots a problem for you?

Do your minor characters beg for more attention?

Do you have a good tip for selecting the right character?

 

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How to make your characters likable?

Or…

Is it necessary that every character be likable?

Faceless woman

Need all characters be —

pleasant, nice friendly, agreeable, affable, amiable, genial, personable, charming, popular, good-natured, engaging, appealing endearing convivial, congenial, simpatico, winning, delightful, enchanting, lovable, adorable, sweet, or lovely?

Recently, I just finished a book but didn’t like a single character. However, I did want the main character to succeed. This strange and bizarre book kept me captivated.

So, back to my first question, is it necessary for any or all characters to be liked by the reader?

Faces in a puzzle

This is an issue I’m struggling with right now. In my current WIP, I’m not sure my main character is likable. I want people to like her, emphasize with her and pull for her, but I don’t want her to come off whinny. I hate whining. Even in real life.

How do we accomplish giving characters qualities that a reader can relate to, but still see their faults?

And does every character need to have likable attributes? What about the bad guys? Do they need a few redeeming characteristics? 

See I have lots of questions and only a few answers. So jump right in and help a writer out in the comments.

Okay, here’s what I’ve figured out so far.

  • Likability means a reader “likes” watching a character. Hmm…
  • Interesting and entertaining can attract a reader too.
  • If I understand what makes a character tick, it’s easier for a reader to relate.
  • No one is perfect, even the good guys. Show their flaws.
  • Avoid a “too good” character. No one likes a goody-two-shoes.
  • A kind-hearted act can make a character seem loveable.
  • A tragic backstory will make a reader root for the character.
  • Let the reader see a character’s vulnerability.
  • A sense of humor can go a long ways toward likable.
  • Avoid making a character “too bad.” Readers want to believe everyone has some redeeming qualities.
  • The name must fit the character.

And one last question…

Do you write the likable characteristics of a character in the first draft, Or do you add those traits in the second draft?

Want to read great articles on fleshing out a character? Then click and read.

Make your characters L.I.E.

10 Methods to Make Your Character Likable 

What Makes a Character Likable?

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