relatable

The Feels: Why the Feels are the Best

Hey, guys!  Sorry I haven’t posted in a while; I haven’t been able to think of anything to write about for a while  *glares viciously at empty post suggestion page*.  Anyway, my inspiration from this post came from this Minecraft skin of mine I posted on Planet Minecraft for a contest.  The theme was things money can’t buy, and since I thought love and friendship were going to be overdone, I wrote a story about a guy and his dead wife.  It was ridiculously depressing, but I was (and am) getting good feedback from my writing.

But why would anyone enjoy reading a story that made them so sad?

Let’s look at the larger picture for a second.  Be honest – you’ve had the feels for a fictional character before.  Whether it was from a book, movie, or TV show, I’m willing to bet that you’ve felt an emotion for a story before, whether it made you happy, excited, nervous, scared, or flat-out sad.  You may not have enjoyed feeling so bad about a person that doesn’t even exist, but the truth is, you probably enjoyed it a lot more than a story that didn’t make you feel anything.

Why is that?  Probably because you like reading stories with relatable characters.  You enjoy reading about people with the same hobbies, interests, and characteristics as you.  It helps you get in the know of the story.  You can understand the characters well, and it makes you connect with them on a whole new level.

Chances are, you’re human (unless you’re a cyborg, in which case, you don’t even GET the feels, so why are you even reading this) and if you’re human, you feel plenty of emotions.  That means that emotional characters with real personalities are more relatable to you, too.  You like well-written stories, and well-written stories mean well-written characters.  Well-written characters mean realistic, relatable characters.  You need a story you can connect with.

But why are emotional roller-coaster stories the best?  You may disagree with me here (especially if you’re not into unhappy fiction) but I think that, if a writer can write a scene or story well enough and realistically enough that you – a living, breathing being – can feel real emotions for it even though you know it’s not real, then that’s a really good author.  They’ve portrayed their characters so skillfully that you feel what they feel, even though they only exist in words on a page.  You forget you’re reading fiction and get into a story like it’s actually happening around you.  And I, for one, think that’s pretty much the coolest thing ever.

So, writers, just remember – emotional, suspenseful stories are the best,  People enjoy them the most, and, I’ll tell the truth here, they’re the most fun to write, too.  The feels are never a bad thing to have in a story!  Invite the feels in.

Thank you all for reading!  Remember, feedback, comments, and ratings are always appreciated – I want to know what you think!

Until next post!

~ Summer

Convincing Characters: The Trouble with Mary Sues

Hey, people, and thanks for reading this Tween Fiction Girl post!  As we writers [and maybe a few readers] know, the plot of a story doesn’t just happen.  It doesn’t just magically manifest itself.  You need characters within the plot to carry out the action that makes the story happen.  The thing is, writing said characters is often a whole lot more difficult than it seems.

One mistake that’s made often occurs when the plot is planned out before the characters.  If you already know what’s going to happen in the story and you develop your characters later, your characters can end up as meaningless tools that carry out whatever actions are necessary for the plot to go on.

This just doesn’t work.  As with in real life, the circumstances are made by the person, not vice versa.  His or her own actions need to further the plot.  That’s a good start to giving each character their own unique personality – if you make it so they only do what they do to keep the plot going, they’ll seem like gears and pulleys in a machine:  you pull the strings, they pull the weight.  This’ll make every character seem the exact same, and they’ll all be equally boring.

On the other hand, it’s possible to get too into the development of a character.  You may have heard the term Mary Sue before.  A Mary Sue is a character that’s too perfect.  The author liked him or her too much, so they turned them into the most annoyingly immaculate person ever.

They’re flawlessly attractive, have an amazing personality, and everyone loves them; except for the villain, who’s almost always featured in said Mary Sue’s traumatic backstory, who hates him or her with a burning passion.  There are several different breeds of Mary Sues:  the charismatic, innocent charmer; the tough, brave, noble, honorable warrior; the tragic, likely orphaned/abandoned hero, and many more.  If you want to protect your characters from Mary-Sue-hood, try running them through this Mary Sue test I discovered on NaNoWriMo last year.

The problem with Mary Sues is, they’re hard to connect with.  You may love the impeccable character you made, but no one else can identify with them.  No one is that perfect.

Why is it so important that your characters follow these guidelines, you ask?  It’s certainly easier to write characters that you love, or make your plot easier to write.  The truth is, readers will hate them.  People like characters that they can understand; characters they can truly identify with.  If your characters are lifeless puppets that are only used to give your plot the push it needs, they aren’t understandable.  If we don’t know enough about them, it’s like trying to get to know a block of wood.

Alternatively, no one can really relate to a character without flaws.  Real people aren’t gods – we all have problems.  It’s what makes us human.  On the other hand, a Mary Sue will seem inhuman, unreachable, too good for this world.  We just can’t sympathize with someone so unrealistic.

The truly perfect character isn’t “perfect” in the Mary Sue sense of the word.  A perfectly written character is realistic.  He or she seems human.  They have problems, but they mean well [some of them, at least].  They have real, varied personalities; every one is different, and they all seem believable.  Follow these steps, and you’re well on your way to writing a book full of the greatest characters imaginable!

Remember, feedback is always appreciated!  Rate my posts with the stars at the top of the page, comment your thoughts, and even give this a like if you really loved it.  If you want to see a post about a specific subject, you can always suggest one here.

Thanks for reading!  I hope this was helpful!

Summer T