Hello. My name is Brenda. Today I will be talking about listening to your instincts when it comes to your characters. But first, I’d like to give Jenna a huge, heartfelt thank you for featuring me and my newly released paranormal romance novel, Prophecy’s Child on her blog. Thank you, Jenna.
Back when Prophecy’s Child was in the critique phase, one critter sent me a message letting me know she didn’t care for my heroine—Katherine. She worried Katherine’s behavior may tick off readers.
Before I go any further, I want to say this critter’s opinion I value very much. I may not agree with her sometimes, but her crits and suggestions always make me think deep and hard about my story, my characters, their emotions, etc, etc. In fact, her comments make me analyze everything, from plot, my character’s goals, motivations, the conflicts that drive them, how my characters react to said conflict, what makes my characters who they are, and if their reactions ring true.
This particular critter felt Katherine’s anger toward the hero—Kal—was a little too much—too harsh. She worried readers who had read Love’s Prophecy, and fell in love with Kal, may not take too kindly to Katherine, lol.
At first, I let this info sink in. I didn’t freak out, but I will admit, I was a little scared. Last thing I wanted was for readers to hate my heroine. Then I began analyzing Katherine’s character. I ripped apart her personality. I studied her past—the hurt and pain she endured—the life events that had shaped her into the woman she was in the story. Took me awhile, but I realized I was right on track. If I changed her—and I tried—she wouldn’t be the character I saw in my head and felt in my heart. The story would have been weaker for it, I believe.
Will some readers feel Katherine’s pain? Understand what drives her? Sympathize with her fears? Her doubts…her anger? I truly hope so. But I do know there will be some readers who don’t care for Katherine. But no matter what, I’m glad I listened not only to my screaming instincts, but to Katherine as well, lol.
Authors, have any of you experienced a critique partner or reader not liking one of your main characters?
Readers, have you read a book where you couldn’t stand one or both of the main characters? If so, what was it that bothered you?
Thank you all.
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I’ll leave you with the blurb and an excerpt from Prophecy’s Child.
Blurb for Prophecy’s Child:
His secret will shatter her world.
Katherine Colby’s life splintered ten years ago when her lover suddenly vanished, leaving her with more than a broken heart. But when Kal unexpectedly makes an appearance, her safe, dependable existence is shattered once more. Drawn into Kal’s deadly world of vampires and demons, she must now put aside her hurt and anger and learn to trust him. Can she forgive past deceptions and find the courage to love again? Or will she turn away the one man who owns her heart and soul?
Her secret will change his life.
Powerful, and lethal, Kal is a vampire warrior, sworn to protect humans from demons. Loving Katherine too much to pull her into his dangerous world, Kal deserted her, believing his decision was best for them both. But not even time could assuage his yearning for the woman who has captured his heart. As fate tosses them together once again, Kal must fight to win Katherine’s trust and forgiveness before evil separates them forever. But is he ready to become the man she needs him to be? Or will he lose the one woman he can’t live without?
Excerpt for Prophecy’s Child:
Katherine crossed her arms in a pitiful attempt at guarding her heart and her secret. “What are you doing here?” Please say visiting relatives or on vacation.
Kal pulled his left hand out of his pocket and showed her a small plastic bag. “Buying a video game.”
“I mean, what are you doing in Vancouver?”
“I moved here for work a few years ago. What about you? Do you live here?”
No! Her stomach plummeted to the floor. With Kal living here, she’d have to be on guard whenever she went out—especially when Ike was with her.
“That’s none of your damn business.” She quickly schooled her features and pointed at his bag. “Nice to see you’re just as childish as you were years ago. Some things never change, huh?”
His cheeks reddened, and he glanced at the floor. Sighing, he rocked back and forth on his heels as he shoved the bag into his pocket. With a flick of his head, he dislodged thick bangs out of his eyes. “Look, Katherine, I need to apologize.”
“For knocking me down? Don’t worry about it.”
“That too, but I’d like to apologize for the way I left things between us.”
The tenacious hold she had on her rage disintegrated. “You didn’t leave anything between us—you just left. I woke up, and you were gone. Which wasn’t unusual. You were never there in the mornings. But when I tried to call your cell phone…you had the damn thing cut off! So please, do me a favor, and keep your bullshit apologies because I don’t want to hear them.”
With the rounded tip of his boot, he toed the base of a metal clothes rack. He fingered the sleeve of a fluffy purple housecoat; his intense stare locked with hers.
He glanced away, but before he did, she noticed guilt and hurt cloud the blue depths of his eyes.
How dare he be hurt? He had no right. Katherine’s fury boiled over. She wanted to wound him even more.
“If your objective back then was to have me fall in love with you, and then make me detest you, then bravo, mission accomplished. And make no mistake. I do despise you.”
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