Today, I have to brag, just a bit. Last week's blog post got nearly 1,000 readers. WOW! Now, if everyone would get a copy of my book, and sign up for my email, that would be wonderful.
Today, I want to cover the next thing Dean Koonts said is what the average reader demands if you want to write best-selling fiction. That is: "Colorful, imaginative, and convincing characterizations."
I remember when I first read that, I realized my characters were pretty much vanilla pudding. Mark was so, so, and Genie didn't exist, neither did Gary. As soon as I read that, I realized I needed to do something to make my characters people that other people would care about.
First thing I did was to I change Mark, making him more aggressive, more of a boy who would be tough in a fight, though the only fights he ever got into was when three other boys attacked him. In his big fight scene, Mark tries to fight, but with 3 on 1 that's kind of tough, and Jeff, the antagonist nearly kills him. You'll have to read Bridgetown High to see what I mean.
Second, I invented Gary. Gary is a colorful character, being a hippy and a draft dodger. In spite of that, to make him of value to the story, I decided to make him Mark's cousin, and that role plays in some serious interaction with Mark throughout the book, but mostly at the end. 'Nuff said for now.
Third, I created Genie, but she started out as a real problem to Mark. She went from a bad girl, a druggie, and a rape victim, to the pretty, sweet, talented girl with a lot of spunk and in the end, the girl who, due to her great love for Mark, took the bullet meant for him. Did she live or die? You'll have to read Bridgetown High to find out.
And, that brings me to Jeff, the hated antagonist. He's a poor boy from across the proverbial tracks. I spent a lot of time in his head, making him as real as I could. Through his head, and some of his friends, we learn to empathize and actually feel sorry, for him. We learn he lives in a broken home, had an abusive father, and so on. By the time I got through with him, most readers actually sympathize with him as well as empathize with him, though they don't condone his actions. Again, if you haven't read the Bridgetown High, Get a copy so you'll see what I mean.
There are other characters, of course, but I'll leave of their descriptions off for now. Just remember, your characters need to resonate with the reader. Brainstorm and see if you can't make your characters more real, and someone the reader can love, or like Jeff, someone the readers can hate.