I'm launching my first workshop for anyone interested in participating. Since it's rather small, I'll just have you leave a comment that you want to join in and others can follow over to your blog to comment on your post.
On a previous post, I had linked over to site that I had found from a literary agent on twitter. The full link is on my restoration of self post, and it is from the story writer at Pixar, Emma Coats. The first point she made for writing a great story is this:
#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
The point is that if your reader/audience doesn't care about your characters, they won't keep reading the book. We've all heard the advice- you don't want flat characters, they need to be believable. So how do you do that?
Follow the masters. I read my first Hemingway book about two years ago, and I found myself actually attracted to the main character, Robert. I developed such strong feelings about him that I continued to think of him when I wasn't even reading the book. As a writer, that's exactly what you want your reader to do.
Take this excerpt from the short story by Hemingway, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.
"Francis Macomber was very tall, very well built if you did not mind that length of bone, dark, his hair cropped like an oarsman, rather thin-lipped, and was considered handsome. He was dressed in the same sort of safari clothes that Wilson wore except that his were new, he was thirty-five years old, kept himself very fit, was good at court games, had a number of big-game fishing records, and had just shown himself, very publicly, to be a coward."
With each word, a clearer picture of this character forms, and that last part just adds a further opinion. Brilliant.
Exercise: Do a character sketch. I found this website, click on the word here, with some great suggestions for building characters.
Here's mine: (She's my main character from my WIP- and as always, feedback welcome)
Kate Wilson is a pretty American with curly blond hair and a thrill-seeking lifestyle. She loves to downhill ski and travel. She follows her friend and coworker from the restaurant they work at to South America and finds her calling in life, to become a nurse and return as a volunteer. Kate has a big heart and opens it to the local people in the rainforest where she has been assigned to work. She is a little naive to the dangers of her environment however, as the drug cartel is active in the area.