Written by Danica Cornell
If you were to venture a guess, what would you list as the number one aspiration of today’s fiction writers? Might it be to make a living doing what we love? To be famous? To work less than 50 hours a week? Actually, for myself, anything less than 60 hours would be a step in the right direction—but I digress.
Digging a little deeper, I’d be willing to bet for the majority of us in the writing/publishing biz, our deepest longing is to gain a loyal following of readers—but not just any readers. What we really want are readers who HUNGER for our work. We want them banging down the doors demanding , “When’s your next book coming out?!” Naturally, the question then becomes, how do we achieve this–what’s the magic stuff that makes readers crave our work?
For most of us, the bottom line is this: We want our readers screaming from the rooftops, “Gimme more!”
On some level, I suspect even beginning authors understand that in order to write as well as the pros, they’d best be advised to begin with an interesting story (a conflict, a problem) within a well constructed story world. They might also understand they need to deliver the goods when it comes to description and emotional experience—the goal being to have their masterpiece read more like a modern day movie than a centuries-old novel.
When you think about it, a lot of what I’ve outlined here deals directly with the characters themselves. Their feelings and experiences. Their conflicts and growth. This is precisely why I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time to developing my DARK STAR Series’ characters up front—during the planning stages of my novels, NOT while I’m in the middle of writing them. I realize this technique isn’t for everyone. But for me, because I believe character development is KING when it comes to creating compelling science fiction/fantasy, (or any kind of fiction for that matter), I’ve chosen to spend the bulk of my time getting to know my characters before word one ever hits the page.
That’s right. Even though I write in what many consider to be one of the most challenging genres out there (due to the imaginary worlds which must be created from scratch), I’m here to tell you I actually spend the bulk of my time developing my characters.
Allow me to explain…
Many of you probably don’t know much (if anything) about my background, so let me start off by saying that I’m not only a writer. I’m also the owner of a nanotechnology start-up, which is probably why dreaming up sexy, futuristic, high-tech gadgets and weapons systems is second nature to me. Additionally, because I’ve spent the last fifteen years immersed in nanotechnology business development, I’ve learned a thing or two about technological forecasting and social change— constructs which just so happen to make great fodder for my DARK STAR Scifi/Fantasy Series.
But here’s the deal. Things get really interesting for readers of science fiction when writers take the time to weave social change into personal change and tie it all together with healthy doses of inter and intrapersonal conflict. If you think about it, the most fascinating characters any of us have ever known are flawed and complicated. They’re not stereotypical. They’re unique, yet believable. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about protagonists, antiheroes, villains, sidekicks, or mentors—our main characters need to LEAP off the pages! As writers, we want our readers to identify with at least one of our main characters. Why? Because we want them to experience first hand, their pains, joys, sorrows, and triumphs. But more than anything else, we want them to become INVESTED in our characters and their journeys—even to the point of morphing into one of them for a few hours while reading our tantalizing tales. As you might imagine, this becomes especially important than when creating a series–which is why I’m so passionate about character development in the first place. Let’s face it, if your readers don’t care about your characters, they won’t care about your cool sci-fi tech or out-of-this-world adventures–so give your readers more of what they really want. Give them characters they can sink their teeth into.
COMING UP: In my next installment of The GIMME MORE! Blog Series, I’m going to discuss just how I’ve utilized my psychology degree to help develop DARK STAR’s cast of characters. This promises to be a fruitful discussion, one chock-full of ideas for helping new writers create truly three-dimensional characters.
It’s been a pleasure spending this time with you. Thanks so much for stopping by and I do hope you’ll come back again real soon! 🙂
Until we meet again…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Danica Cornell holds a BA in Psychology. As the President and Co-Owner of Mano Nanotechnologies, Inc., Danica has over 15 years of business development experience, which she uses to guide the advanced technology concepts featured throughout her forthcoming DARK STAR Sci-fi/Fantasy Series. To learn more about Danica’s writing, her background in nanotechnology and psychology, and her passion for deep character development, please visit her website at www.danicacornell.com.
Danica’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/danica.cornell.author
Danica’s Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanicaCornell
DARK STAR Series’ Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/DARK.STAR.Series
Danica Cornell is a proud member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.