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Don’t leave your characters to float in a vacuum!
Last month, I received some fantastic feedback on the first quarter of my current MS. For this series of articles, I will draw from the remarks of my wonderful Beta readers and discussions I have had with other writers on these topics.
In some ways, I did not ground my characters. Here were three bloopers that I made in the first chapter…
- Setting: Ground your character in physical surroundings either immediately or almost immediately. This can be tricky if you start with dialogue or thoughts but if you do not physically ground your character then you risk confusing the reader and/or making the action (verbal or otherwise) less immediate.
- Mood: Think about the mood of your story (comic, dark, sensual, etc.) and make sure your character introduction is permeated by this mood. This may mean going back and rewriting your hook from scratch or taking the already-written hook and changing the angle.
- Genre: Okay, I did not use on in this book — but I have in others! It is important to establish your genre (and preferably your subgenere) in the first few pages. The reader who picked up your book typically expects a certain genre but don’t leave the reader guessing. Show her that she chose the right book and the right character to meet her fantasy/romance/suspense desires.
DISCLAIMER: This was feedback for one author’s MS and should not be taken as all-or-nothing advice for all stories.