Discover how to Create Connections, with Summer Mahan

 Moonday Mania

a blog on the craft of writing

Today I have on guest author Summer Mahan. Summer is a blogger from Her Story Calls and a fellow romance author from CRW. She’s lively and fun and one of the best people to hang around with if you meet her at a convention or a retreat. She also has great advice for aurthors on making connections today, so read on!

Creating Connections

 Connections. The number one trait all best-selling authors have is creating a connection with their audience.

Somehow they can fulfill a need or satisfy a want within their readers. Loyal fans who wait for months for their books and then stay up late into the night and forget to cook dinner for their loved ones.

How can some authors make this hair pulling journey of writing seem so simple and effortless from the start of chapter one down to the end? If you find out please let me know. Now, I’m no expert, but my research has pointed me on the path that begins and ends with characters.

While it’s true that you might pick a book in a grocery store line because of the back read,  mostly due towards plot, or because of a great cover-the reason you continue to read is because characters.

Story is about the characters. Great story is about great characters.

Take your favorite book, movie or play. Now dissect why you love it so much.

Is it because of the heart pounding plot? The flow or voice of sequence? The eloquence of speech, scenery or structure? Perhaps. But I’d bet nine times out of ten the story you love is all because of the characters.

For some reason their struggle has become your struggle. Their pain has become your pain. And you’re rooting for them right up until their hopefully happy ending and they get what they deserve. Because you’re right there with them all along the way.

And fingers crossed, in the end we all get what we deserve.

So how does one go about creating this awe inspiring connection?

  1. Make your character likeable
  2. Make a compelling and interesting career or past
  3. Honorable, loyal
  4. Flawed and/or  vulnerable
  5. Capable of fear
  6. Heroic in some way (big or small)
  7. Unique in their voice
  8. Capable of learning and/or changing
  9. Real to the reader due to motivations, desires, loyalties(this is big)
  10. A dirty little secret. Or just a secret
  11. Let them struggle for redemption (big or small)

And no matter what you do don’t…

  1. Let the characters be stupid
  2. Or do stupid things
  3. Stereotype (always add spice and special twists)

I hope this helps in some way in your writing. I’ll continue throughout the month with more details about these above traits on my blog www.herstorycalls.com .

Please add any connections you think are notable in the comments. The wonderful thing about writers is all the great information we share.

Take care and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Thanks for having me, Jessica! Until next time. 😉

Summer Mahan

Love*Laugh*Read

www.SummerMahan.com

 Summer Mahan 

Loves to laugh. Adores sparkling conversation, wit, and charm. Believes reading is a pleasure one should indulge in at least once a day and writing is for the fearless. She loves her family, diet Coke, Scotland and pasta. Contemplates that picking a favorite genre to write is much like choosing a favorite child-it’s not possible. Summer hopes to never stop learning what the world has to offer and telling the stories it reveals.

You can find Summer blogging at Her Story Calls and at SummerMahan.com

Thanks Summer. Please leave a comment for Summer below and don’t forget to enter to win great prizes  (including 4 copies of Little Red Riding Wolf, by Jessica Aspen) during my January and February promotion. To enter please click HERE and follow the directions.

(Details available on the contest page HERE).

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8 Comments

Filed under Moonday mania, writing craft

8 responses to “Discover how to Create Connections, with Summer Mahan

  1. Brinda Berry

    I think that characters are paramount. You could have the most mundane scene and be riveted because of the character. Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse comes to mind. Let me tell you that sometimes I wonder how certain scenes can be interesting. Harris writes about Sookie’s trip to Wal-Mart, her housecleaning, or her job. It’s interesting only because I am so attached to the character of Sookie. If you look at the list of traits above, I can answer every one of those about that character. Great post.

    • Brinda,
      Thanks so much for leaving a comment. I haven’t read any of Sookie’s stories but they sound fabulous. Funny how if you’re invested in the character everything they do becomes worthwhile. And I’m all in for a trip to Walmart. There is plenty of material to work with there. 😉
      Thanks again and Happy New Year!

  2. Great post, Summer. LOVE your bio. Your sparkle pops.

    I write character-driven plots, and read character-driven fiction. A stellar plot can not snatch me into its grip if I’m not emotionally invested in the characters.

    I do have one point in reference to characters doing “stupid things.” I like putting my characters in awkward situations and watching how they react and interact. They don’t always do the “smart” thing, but there are reasons for that behavior, and it becomes part of their charm (IMHO), a slice of their back story, and an opportunity for the reader to think. “Oh, yeah. Been there. Done that.”

    No. I’m not a sadist. I just love the humor hits. GREAT points on the importance of properly developed characters.

    • Gloria,
      The stupid things people do can be very open, can’t it? Thank you for bringing this up. Sometimes authors do ‘silly/stupid’ things to their characters because they want them to make a bad decision or perhaps see how they react out in the moment. This isn’t them acting stupid, this is them making a bad decision. A big difference.
      And that makes excellent story! Awkward is never stupid-it’s torture. And I’m all for that! It shows a part of the character and how they choice to react to a circumstance. The more the better.
      Thanks for stopping by. Happy New Year!

  3. Thanks Summer, for visiting and sharing your ideas on character. I’m looking forward to visiting Her Story Calls on January 24th.

  4. Amen, Summer. I’m not a big sci fi or thriller fan, but I’ve read books in those genres and been completely swept away, not because I can’t get enough of the techno-whatchamacallits, but because of the character’s humanity, their plight, and their struggle.

  5. So true, Summer. Without characters there is no one to tell our stories. Donald Maass said our characters should be larger than life with conflicts that just don’t quit. We shouldn’t be afraid to put ourselves in our characters. It may feel like we’re sharing too much of ourselves, but I believe this makes our characters relatable. I so often gain insight through the characters I read and I just love that!

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