Hi everyone.

Did you miss me? Being gone for two weeks makes for a long wait between my postings.

I just got a message from a man looking for help with his writing. Someone had referred him to me as thinking I could help him with his career. I felt inadequate as his writing goals seemed a lot higher than mine, but I tried to help and referred him to this posting.

However, by the time I wrote back to him, his message disappeared and I felt frustrated not being able to respond and maybe even help him. If this person was you, please contact me again, or comment below.

For today's post I though I would talk a little about characters. I for one, prefer to read about someone who feels real, verses cardboard characters.

So, how do we do that? Many novels are about magic or science fiction where the main character's only purpose is to save a world or something like that, but in the meantime we don't really get acquainted with the main character. In a book titled "How to Write Best-Selling Fiction," by Dean Koontz, he makes few comments that I feel are of value here. He says:

"Your lead character doesn't have to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and he doesn't have to stop speeding bullets with his bare hands, but he darn well better know the difference between right and wrong, and he better be kind to animals, and it sure wouldn't hurt any if he brushed his teeth regularly...

"If your heroine is a beautiful actress, a fine painter, and engineer, a cabinetmaker, a superb cook, a daring test pilot, a whiz at electronics, a doctor, a lawyer, and an Indian chief, don't you think you ought to humanize her at least to the extent of giving her a zit on the end of her nose?"

I know these sound a bit flippant, even humorous, but there's a lot of truth there. Your characters must be real if you expect to write "best-selling fiction."

So, how are your characters developing.

In my novel, "Bridgetown High," I tried my best to develop all the main characters, even to the point of going into the heads of Jeff Marino, the antagonist as well as Mark Wilkerson, the protagonist. I think I succeeded. Reviews of "Bridgetown High" have almost always been positive and one of the main things reviewers point out is the realism of the story and its characters.

So, until next week, keep working on your novel and take a minute to read mine, if you haven't already https://www.amazon.com/dp/1680583093/ and it would be great if you would write a review to help Amazon and Goodreads to rate my novel at a level it is worth. The higher my ranking the more likely my book is to sell, and you can say you were a part of it.

Thanks to all of you for making this effort a success.
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About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017

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A wonderful high to all my great friends and family (er. that should be "hi" not "high). I'm sure most of you will understand, ha ha.

First, before I proceed,  I need to let you know that I won't be here next week. But keep checking and come back every week and even re-read some of my older posts so you can make fun of all my goofs, he he.

I saw an interesting discussion this last week on Goodreads. The title of the discussion was "Should life lessons be part of YA novels?" What do you think? Should they, or not? Have any of you thought about that in your writing? I have, and I think the answer is "yes," BUT!

A huge BUT here. If you are to do that, keep in mind, kids aren't stupid. They can usually see through the lesson material, so make sure you're not being preachy. Most kids are looking for answers to life's problems, especially their problems.

One commenter (me) offered the following: "In every novel I've read, and had any real impression on me, the main character (and possibly others) have had a life changing experience by the end of the novel. If it didn't, the book was meaningless.

That being said, the reader should be able to somehow identify with the main character(s) and gain a lesson vicariously.

In my novel, Bridgetown High," the main character "Mark" starts out hurt and angry. He wants to get revenge on the person who killed his family. By the end of the book, he learns who the killer is and it's like a rug was pulled out from under his feet. He doesn't know how to react.

That same commenter (me) also stated: "In almost every novel, there's a protagonist and an antagonist. Hopefully, by the end of the book, the protagonist overcomes s the antagonist and in that effort he/she learns something or grows as a result."

OK, so until two weeks from now, keep reading and writing, and thanks for following me and my novel's success. I hope you've enjoyed "Bridgetown High." If you haven't yet, you still can by going to Amazon
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