Like ‘Em or Leave ‘Em

Young woman reading a book lying in hammockLately lots of fun stuff has been happening in my little writer’s world. One of the things that has me nervous is a workshop I’ll be doing for my home writer’s chapter of RWA this coming Sunday. My title is called Redeeming Despicable Characters. The focus of the workshop is actually on how to write likeable characters, or how to turn a really flawed character into someone the reader will like.

I mention how authors (myself included) sometimes get blindsided by our characters and don’t realize how off-putting they are. I’ve quit reading books because I didn’t like the main protagonist. Whenever I begin reading a book I ask myself who  these characters are and why should I like them.  How about you?

One of the fun things I discovered during my research was that traditional (Universally Accepted) qualities for friends and heroes haven’t really changed. Here’s a list of some of the classics:

Trustworthy, forgiving, loyal, straightforward, enthusiastic, dependable, respectful, selfless, supportive, and inspiring.

Of course most friends aren’t ALL of the above, but a friend possessing several of these qualities is a great friend! When we’re reading, don’t we kind of want the heroine to be someone we could be friends with?

In HER PERFECT PROPOSAL my March Special Edition, Lilly Matsuda is a journalist, raised by tiger parents, and9780373658763 so far in life she has yet to impress them. Now she’s out to make a name for herself by uncovering a big story, come hell or high water. We can’t exactly call her respectful or straightforward since it seems she’ll do almost anything to get her story, but I do manage to show her as enthusiastic and perhaps inspiring with her never-say-die attitude. Hopefully that is enough for the reader to stick with her until Chapter Two. After flaunting a few despicable tendencies, I make sure to show a softer side of her personality. I do this by exposing the extent to which her parents have gone to influence her into becoming what they wanted her to be – a doctor – not caring what she wanted for herself. Hopefully the reader will root for her when they see (by her opening up and proving she can be straightforward) how she’s thumbed her nose at her parents by becoming a journalist. Also, once my hero, Gunnar, hears her story about only wanting a doll for Christmas when she was a kid, a doll with real hair that she could brush, BUT instead getting a clear plastic covered Mr. Human Anatomy science doll, the reader might be more inclined to cut her some slack over being pushy and nosy while uncovering the secret of Heartlandia in the beginning of the book.

Of course, I was thrilled when Her Perfect Proposal got the March Top Pick for Special Edition from Romantic Times Book Reviews.  It was a first for me. Read full review here.  Now CataRomance has given the book 5 Stars.  Full review here.

What’s the most important qualities for friends for you? or What makes you throw a book against the wall?

Until next time, make it a great one!                                                                                         Lynne

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2 Responses to Like ‘Em or Leave ‘Em

  1. robena grant says:

    Well the workshop is over, AND you were fabulous! Just the right amount of humor and at the right moments to keep the listener engaged. You provided excellent information and I’m sure many people went home happier for this.
    And congrats! again on the upcoming release. Being a recipient of an ARC of this story I can honestly say it is a really heartwarming read. Congrats! on the RT Top Pick!

  2. Thank you, Robena, as always. 🙂