Sep. 28, 2014

# 1. What I learned while writing Candyman’s War

Reflective readers get invested in characters

It seems obvious enough. I got invested in them and wrote a book with them starring in it.

Take Candyman for example. I really liked this guy when he appeared in El Peón. So much that I let that book go and started what became Candyman’s War. But Cm’W had other characters, and several readers pointed it out. “Too many,” some said. “What happened to them?” said others. “He was just a minor character,” is my usual reply. “Yeah, well, what happened to him?” is often theirs.

Herein, lies a lesson. If you give the reflective reader enough insight into a character, they just might invest themselves. And it is impossible to predict which one they’ll identify with because, well, every reader is different. Just like the characters.

It is more predictable when you give a character point of view. A POV character is one with whom the reader gets to walk a few pages in her shoes. You get to see the world from her perspective and that pretty well guarantees that some readers will connect with this “person.” That connection creates a responsibility to the reader.

Some writers start out intending to write a series. It’s smart marketing nowadays. It is unlikely that they will end the first story with the main character dead (unless the sequel is ghoulish), or irretrievably happy for the hereafter.  That is a different consideration. The current story still has to be a satisfying conclusion for that character.

The reader it seems, wants to invent the story with the author. So be it. Let’s do it together. Can’t wait to hear what you think about Dolores in Don Fernando’s Family.