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. http://catmomscorner.blogspot.com  

14 comments:

  1. Yes, the more realistic the characters, the more a reader will want to keep reading. :-)

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    1. Yes, absolutely! :)
      Thanks for commenting, Melissa!
      Blessings, Patti Jo

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  2. Perfect characters will make me stop reading. We're all flawed and so must be our characters. This is a great analysis of the whys. Thanks Patti Jo - I believe you and I share that difficulty in creating conflict for our beloved characters, but it's somewhat easier to give them flaws and frustrations of life - right? Realistic matters!

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    1. Hi Cindy,
      Yes, giving them those flaws and frustrations comes more easily than creating conflict for some of us, LOL!
      Thanks so much for stopping by - - you are so supportive. :)
      Hugs, Patti Jo

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  3. Great post, Patti Jo! I definitely struggle with the conflict/trouble thing. Not enough, then too much. Keeping a balance is difficult, but necessary. Thanks for the tips. Your new book sounds so interesting - congratulations!!

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    1. Hi Laura! Yes, keeping a balance can get tricky sometimes!
      Thanks so much for stopping by. :)
      Hugs, Patti Jo

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  4. Patti Jo, this post is a great reminder to add rich details to our stories to add conflict and make the characters more memorable. Now I feel the need to go and do some revisions!

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    1. Hi Missy! Your revisions comment made me giggle! Somedays I feel I'm constantly doing revisions.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Hugs, Patti Jo

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  5. Patti Jo, thanks for the examples of what to consider when evaluating our writing. I love the tips to include everyday trials...stormy weather and spilled tea.... to make the story real.

    As a former kindergarten teacher, I want everyone to get along...no conflict. And I like everything to be perfect, but unfortunately, these scenarios are not realistic. (And make for boring stories.)

    I have difficulty giving my characters faults because I want readers to like them. But if they face their imperfect lives and rely on faith to reveal a better path, a good story of overcoming is created. Yes, I do need to work on giving my story people some imperfect attributes so they are more realistic.

    I love the cover and blurb for Sadie's Dream! I can't wait to read your new book! Blessings!

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    1. Hi Sherida!
      Oh my goodness, I think we must be related! Maybe because of our kindergarten teaching background---but I identify with so many of your comments!

      You are the BEST encourager, and I appreciate you sooo much.
      Hugs, Patti Jo

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  6. Patti Jo, wonderful post as always. You never fail to encourage me on my writing journey. Today's post Helps me feel like I can tackle all the layers in writing.

    I love your new cover! I'm looking forward to reading the book.

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  7. Hi Terri, You are SO kind!
    I appreciate you "introducing" me to Seriously Write, and I feel I've learned so much from others here. :)
    Thanks for commenting, my friend.
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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  8. Patti Jo, congratulations on Sadie's Dream. Thanks for sharing ways to make our characters more real. Great post!

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  9. I'm late checking in. I'm with you, the characters always keep me reading.
    Fun post!

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