22 August, 2013

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - How to make Likeable Characters? by #Author Catherine Astolfo

Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - August'13 ***

How to make Likeable Characters?

How on earth could I make my character likeable when the first sentence of Sweet Karoline goes like this: “I met Ethan on the day that I killed Karoline”?

It’s okay for Dexter; they hired a good-looking, charming actor to captivate the audience. Although my character is beautiful, she’s inside a book, not smiling at you in high definition. Would readers like my Anne?

One of a writer’s primary goals is to ensure that the main character is someone readers can care about. If you don’t give a hoot whether the protagonist lives, dies, achieves her goals, or solves the puzzle, you won’t keep reading. Even if the character is an anti-hero like Dexter, he must appeal to you in some way. 

I began to think about all the times in my life when I heard someone say, “I could just kill…him/her.” I knew they didn’t mean it—most of the time. Ending a fellow human being’s life is abhorrent to most of us. When we’re angry, we sometimes want to inflict the worst thing ever on the object of our distress. The worst thing ever would be murdering that person. People who are forced to kill in war, for instance, very often suffer posttraumatic stress disorder.

What would happen if I said in anger, “Oh go drown yourself in the lake” and my target did exactly that? How would I feel? Would I consider myself a murderer? Would I have a mental breakdown like Anne does in the first couple of chapters? PSTD perhaps, even if I only imagined the accident?

What would happen if I dreamt of someone’s untimely death? Let’s say I had a particularly horrible boss so my subconscious conjured up a bungee jumping incident. Next staff bonding event involves a bungee…

Unless, of course, the character is a psychopath. That certainly puts a different stamp on things. We would probably agree that Dexter hasn’t got much of a conscience. My Anne is smart, charming, and has been terribly hurt. She suffers enormously from the “incident”, to the point of an emotional collapse, even though Karoline’s death was ruled a suicide. Perhaps Anne is upset, traumatized and feeling guilty because she didn’t prevent it. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be quite so devastated. Right?

I think I might have accomplished my goal, though: here’s what Mel Bradshaw, author of Fire on the Runway, says about Sweet Karoline: “Never have I encountered a narrative voice that alternates more deftly between alienating and enticing."

About the Author :: Catherine Astolfo
Catherine Astolfo retired in 2002 after a very successful 34 years in education. Catherine received the Elementary Dufferin-Peel OECTA Award for Outstanding Service in 1998. She was also awarded Dufferin-Peel Catholic Elementary Principal of the Year in 2002 by the Catholic Principals Council of Ontario.
Catherine is a past President of Crime Writers of Canada and a Derrick Murdoch Award winner (2012). She was a Zonta Club 2012 Nominee for Women of Achievement.
Writing is Catherine’s passion. She can recall inventing fantasy stories for her classmates in Grade Three. Her short stories and poems have been published in a number of literary Canadian presses. In 2005, she won a Brampton Arts Award. Her short stories won the Bloody Words Short Story Award (second and first) in 2009 and 2010. She won the prestigious Arthur Ellis Best Short Crime Story Award in 2012.
Catherine’s novels, The Emily Taylor Mysteries and Sweet Karoline, are published by Imajin Books and are optioned for film by Sisbro & Co. Inc.

Her Books

"If I knew what I know now, would I have searched so hard for the truth?" 
Anne Williams says she killed her best friend, Karoline. But did she? Or is there more to Karoline's mysterious death than meets the eye? 
Anne embarks on a compelling journey to discover her past and exposes an unusual history, horrific crimes and appalling betrayals. Through unexpected turns and revelations, Anne learns about love, family and who she really is. Can she survive the truth? 

The Emily Taylor Mystery Series
(Click on the Book Covers to visit their Goodreads Page)

Say Hello to Catherine

Buy Sweet Karoline

Ms.Catherine has kindly agreed to sponsor prizes for the 5 top winners! 
Each winner will get a copy of their choice of any ebook from www.imajinbooks.com

Imajin Books have Adventure, Anthology, Chick Lit, Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal/Supernatural, Romance, Religious Fiction, Science Fiction, Suspense/Thriller, Western, Young Adult (YA) books. So matter your preferred genre, you are sure to find something to your liking.

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