February 18, 2010

The Olympics and Writing

I read a blog post this morning that got me thinking. It was essentially about how the olympics is a lot like writing. You have to keep at it, even when you fall, and soon enough your persistence will pay off. But I'd like to expand on that a little today.

Why do we care that these particular olympic athletes win? What makes us root for them? Well, I think it's because we learn so much about them through the media. We know their background and what it took for them to get where they are. We relate to their drive and ambition and their dreams of olympic glory. Because, don't we all have dreams we want to accomplish, even if they only involve getting out of bed and going to the grocery store?

It's the same with the characters in a story or novel. We relate to those characters because we're privy to their thoughts and we feel what they feel. We want them to achieve their goal, be it finding the perfect love, or catching the man who killed their family, or even believing in themselves. When I find a really good story and I immerse myself in it, I often put myself in the place of the protagonist. And when the story ends and the protagonist has achieved what they set out to do, I feel as if I've gone through the battle with them. And it's a great feeling and is often why a book remains on my keeper shelf.

So, when working on your story or novel, make sure you're creating characters that your readers will relate to. Round them out and make them the type of person we all want to be a little bit like. Find the characterists that will make your readers cheer them on.

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