Thursday, August 8, 2019

Let’s Get Real by Patti Jo Moore

When I think about books I’ve enjoyed reading, and think about why I enjoyed those stories so much, it’s usually because I became totally absorbed in the lives of the characters. A particular character became real to me, and for a while, I lived that character’s life. As an author, I strive to make my characters real to my readers—with flawed lives in a world that’s far from perfect. I’ll admit I do usually have a lovely heroine and a handsome hero, but they aren’t perfect by any means.

Sometimes when I’m in the midst of writing, I focus on a particular aspect, but later realize other details need to be changed. For example, I struggle with having enough conflict in my writing, so I might be completely focused on making sure my story has adequate conflict. But when I re-read the sections I’ve written, I may find that the scenery, weather, etc. is always “too perfect” and not realistic. Is the sun always shining? Is a fictional town totally clean and safe, with no worries about crime? (Wouldn’t that be wonderful in real life!)

Another consideration are children and/or pets in the story. As we all know, both children and pets can be quite unpredictable, so unless it’s a brief scene where the little ones (with or without fur) only make a quick appearance and their behavior doesn’t impact the story, take this into consideration. Especially if you have children who play a major role in your story, remember there likely could be crying, pouting, or tantrums involved. I’ve heard that some authors tend to shy away from writing stories with children, but I love to include little ones in my stories when applicable—especially since I have fond memories from my own children’s lives and my kindergarten teaching days.

If your character is baking a cake in a scene, maybe s/he suddenly realizes a trip to the grocery story will be necessary because there are no more eggs in the refrigerator. Does your character see someone interesting while on the errand? For characters who drink coffee or tea, maybe the drink spills and causes a mess. That not only creates frustration for your character, but depending on where the drink landed, it could even add to your story (maybe the character had been perusing important papers when her coffee spilled on them). Your character’s health is another aspect to think about. Does your character ever have a headache? Have to miss a special event due to sickness? These details can make your characters more believable to readers.

These are only a few examples to remember when we want our stories to seem realistic. Unless you’re writing fantasy, of course. 😉 For those of us writing contemporary or historical fiction, we want our readers to really imagine themselves in the shoes of our character, and for a little while, to live our character’s life.

Happy writing, my friends! 😊

Sadie's Dream

In a coastal Georgia town in 1900, a young woman prepares to serve as a missionary in Africa.
After being jilted the previous year, she's certain she's meant to remain single.
When she meets a handsome businessman from Savannah, she begins struggling with doubts.
Over time she learns that the Lord's plans are best, and dreams really can come true.


Patti Jo Moore is a lifelong Georgia girl who loves Jesus, her family, cats, and coffee. A former kindergarten teacher, Patti Jo writes “Sweet, Southern Stories” that always have a happy ending. Her Emerald Coast Romances series is published by Forget-Me-Not Romance and all three books are available on Amazon. Patti Jo is excited about her first historical romance to be released soon. Sadie’s Dream, also published by Forget-Me-Not, will be available on Amazon. You can find her on Facebook at Author Patti Jo Moore, and also at her CatMom’s Corner blog.