Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Making the readers love the characters of a novel is perhaps one of the most exciting parts about writing. So, why do writers make them so unlovable from the start? Yes, writers want them to grow and be fully dimensional. And some characters are meant to be unlovable. But, the questions remain on how to make the characters interesting enough for the reader to care about so that the pages will turn.
The reader has to have expectations that the characters can be redeemed. Even as bad as the worst character is, there is always some good trait. Readers want to know why someone turned out so bad. What are the motives and reasons for such actions? In short, a good writer instills a curiosity in the reader to keep reading to find out—why?
To keep those pages turning, the characters have to be unique, but conform to certain standards that everyone adheres to. The reader wants to become that character for a while and want to be known as the beautiful lady or handsome gentleman for a while. They want to know they can face adversities and overcome them. They want hope. It is when the writer gives them none, they close the book.
An interesting book to read and follow the advice in building characters is “How to make people like you in 90 seconds or less” by Nicholas Boothman. It is a great book that belongs on all writers desk.
Johnny Ray

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sleuthfest Conference

Last week there was some discussions about Jill Marsal's new agency. I just returned home from Sleuthfest and met Jill there. She was very generous with her time and answered many questions for me after a cocktail party by the pool. Yes, it is still warm enough to swim outside in Palm Beach, Florida.

Her new office is about five miles from her old one and she will be busy this week setting up shop. I miss this area. I learned to surf close to there.

She is interested in thrillers and her partner is interested in romances. She told me she had many contacts in New york and being in
California is not a problem in placing her work with major publishers.

I have talked to many agents and she is one of the most friendly and intelligent agents out there. She took the time to hear what I wanted in a career instead of just what I had written recently. She asked to see my work and I have my fingers crossed. she wold be a pleasure to work with.

The conference was great and I also received request from four other agents. Donna Bagdasarian has a fantastic sense of humor and full of energy. She pulled into a meeting room and asked me about my work. She asked for a full on the spot. More fingers crossed.

Nicole Kenealy is with the Aaron priest Agency and very hungry for new authors. She also wants thrillers. She asked for a partial. She is a lot of fun to be around.

Josh Getzler is with Writer House. He is a super nice guy and very easy to talk to, especially if you like baseball. He also asked for me to send him something.

The two editors,Neil Nyren and Toni Plumer, were fantastic. I had lunch next to Neil. He asked what I was writing and showed interested in me. However, I know he never handles anything without an agent. Hopefully, one day that will change and I hope he remembers us meeting there. I can tell it would be fantastic to work with him. The same is true about Toni. She showed an interest that I found very refreshing. Her company, St. martin would be one of the publishers i would love to write for.

In other words, listen up everyone, next year you need to make this conference.

Johnny ( Sir John) Ray