General Question

nighttripper's avatar

I need tips on writing.

Asked by nighttripper (162points) May 21st, 2008

I’ve heard that when writing a story or book the most important thing to do is to get the reader to like and care about your character. How do I do this? What makes somone care about someone else?

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17 Answers

playthebanjo's avatar

Can I assume you read as well as write? What keeps you interested?

nighttripper's avatar

I usually stay interested if the character is similar to me but people are all different so I dont really know how I would do that. And I already sort of have an idea in my head as to how they are going to be I just need to know if there is a certain way I could introduce them or certain other things that would make the reader more interested

playthebanjo's avatar

what genre? R A Salvatore does it really well for fantasy. He tends to include internal thoughts in 1st person soliloquy as section heads. Have you read any of his books?

nighttripper's avatar

I’m usually into more real stories. Crank was one of my favorite books. It was about a girl who was addicted to crank if you’ve never read it. It was pretty sad she was raped and all sorts of sad things then got pregnant. It was just sad but I loved it.

nighttripper's avatar

Thanks for the link. It was very informative. :)

marinelife's avatar

Do not tell the reader what the character is feeling. Show them through the character’s actions. That way the reader feels what the character is feeling.

For example, rather than “Don felt sick to his stomach when he heard the news.”

How about, “When Don heard the news his stomach immediately twisted into a knot.”

Also, create back stories for your characters that are outside the story. Does your character like chocolate? Sing off-key in the shower? Have a shady past? Even if these things are not alluded to in your story, they make the character more real when you are writing.

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

Two pieces of advice I found indespensable when starting out in my writing career:
1) Show, don’t tell (to go along with Marina’s advice).
2) “Writing is like a skirt. It has to be long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep it interesting.”

nighttripper's avatar

lol love the second one. Thanks for all the advice everyone

chaddq's avatar

Great skirt quote, @omfgTALIjustIMdu, do you know who said it? Hemingway ;)

My thought, @nighttripper, is that good writers are great readers. I think my best tip is to identify the writers you admire and study them.

marinelife's avatar

@chaddg But not to the point of internalizing or copying, of course. Right? A writer needs to develop his or her own voice.

Foolaholic's avatar

I don’t necessarily think that the character has to be likable, just unique, or interesting at the very least. If all characters had to be likable then it would be hard to create really evil antagonists. I’m currently writing a book, and I don’t always think of charters that I want someone to relate to, but created in a way that they can relate to each other. I feel like it’s important to have a well rounded cast of characters, so that you can compare and contrast them together in different ways. Of course, i’m writing a fantasy novel, and it may be different for a different genre. If nothing else, try to find some good archetypes to base people on, then flesh out the characteristics that will drw other to them.

chaddq's avatar

@Marina absolutely.

Riser's avatar

Write what you know.

finkelitis's avatar

@marina—I think it’s a great exercise to mimic writers you love, actually. We’re caught up with the idea of being original too early. Tom Stoppard essentially imitated different authors for his first ten plays. After that, he was ready to write in his own voice.

Nighttripper—try finding passages in books that get you to care about characters quickly. See if you can imitate what the authors do. Don’t worry about being original—it’s just a writing exercise.

Also, think about where your characters are, and who they are, but also where they’re going. Presumably they should change or learn about themselves (or we should learn about them) as they encounter challenges in your story.

Try to take things you notice about people in life and include them in your character descriptions. Try writing descriptions of people you know. Can you capture elements of what make the people interesting in writing? Be specific, as specific as you can.

Also, as you get to writing, let different things happen to your characters. See how they respond. Don’t be afraid to try anything out. You have plenty of time to edit later.

marinelife's avatar

@finkelitis Good input. I think you are right about not worrying so much about original voice at this point as our friend nighttripper is still school age.

trashknob's avatar

Three words: keep it simple.

Go over each word that you write – if it doesn’t add to the piece, remove it.

On that note, my first sentence should actually say “Keep it simple.”

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