by Peggy Bechko
Throw your hero off a cliff.
Yep, that’s the ticket. Think about it. Are you boring your reading audience with wonderful Mr. Nice Guy who may be a bit shy, but so darn good looking he’s irresistible?
Okay, he can be all that, but does he spend his days at the lake faithfully with his one true love and have nothing more exciting than crossing against a light to spice up his day?
Readers don’t want to follow a perfect hero or heroine as he or she goes about her day and everyone is subjected to every boring detail from tooth brushing to hailing a cab.
Really, if that’s your character you might sit down and have a talk with yourself about why that is.
So how about this. Your hero remains your hero but you toss in the woman he meets and falls in love with, a kick-ass martial arts champ, crack shot markswoman with a questionable past and a sarcastic wit. Now we’re talkin’! How would they work out their differences? How would he react to her, aside from loving her? What about her past, is that about to come back and bite them both? I don’t know, do you have a clue?
A few elements like this and the reader doesn’t know from one page/moment to the next if the hero is going to have to jump off a cliff to save himself/her/ or out of total frustration.
Now that I’d like to read. Done well it would be a great page-turner or possibly the plot of a hit movie.
So, are you thinking like that, writing like that? No? Why not? We all have pasts and wounds we can draw on that we can present to our characters and really identify with.
If not, why not?
It’s scary out there for writers. They really need to plumb the depths and dig deep.
Unless…wait, there is no unless. It’s what a writer needs to do in order to hook readers. Sure, the fictional people are, well, fiction, but we put a little of ourselves into every character we create. Heroes, villains, it doesn’t matter.
Sinister? Painful? Dark? Yep, and we can throw in some sunshine and lollipops, but it originates within us. And we can’t make readers or movie goers feel if we can’t feel. Open up to yourself, admit your flaws and dark corners.
Dig deep, raise the bar for yourself and don’t stop exploring every emotion we all possess. Your readers will thank you and admire you for it.
Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. This post originally appeared on her sensationally helpful blog. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available onKindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page