Friday, September 24, 2010

The Great Blogging Experiment

Yay!!!! The Great Blogging Experiment has finally arrived! Wow today is going to be a super fun today!!!

Elana, Alex and I are excited to have had such a great turn out for this fabulous experiment! I look forward to reading all of your entries and seeing how different all of them are!

I hope you brought your personalities today... it's time to shine!

Writing Compelling Characters.

A tough sell, I mean you want to think you have THE most AMAZING character that ever lived, but not everyone can have Harry Potter (not to mention in your story he probably wouldn't fit in.

The main ingredient is your character's VOICE without it your reader will bore and leave the book at the nightstand underneath the rest of the novels that will NEVER be read.

Just a few other things to help keep your characters interesting. Here.We.Go

1. It's like Peanut Butter & Jelly - Your readers have to have a connection.
2. Guys Wanted - Geeks, Jocks, Guitarists, doesn't matter who they are, just make them hot!
3. Personality - Strong, independent, broken. Everyone needs fixing, the more obstacles the better. Let's just watch the insanity, we want borderline crazy, not toppling off the cliff crazy.
4. Cool names - The more rockin' the name, the longer I stick around.
5. Vampires - Always works as a fall back, again, just make them hot!

I'm off to check the others out!! See you there! Thanks for stopping by! Happy Friday!

112 comments:

Quinn said...

Maybe the only one I wouldn't agree with is vampires. I'm a little sick of them. But vampires eating peanut butter and jelly might be interesting! Great post!

Talei said...

Completely agree! If I had to pick one key ingredient - it would be Voice - without it we're lost! Great experiment my dear! ;)

Have a fab weekend!

Misha said...

I totally agree with voice. That's uber important.

Nice post :-)

Jessica Carmen Bell said...

hahaha, you're hilarious! "Just make them hot!" LOLOL OK, Sergeant!!!! ;o)

salarsenッ said...

So bummed I missed doing this NON-Blogfest! HAH. Already had committed to another writer's guest post, though. This is great. Love chats about character development.

Creepy Query Girl said...

LOL- with those tips, I don't think anyone can go wrong!

Renae said...

Great tips Jen, voice is essential for a character. And the hot vampires don't hurt either.

Thanks for hosting the experiment...it has been so much fun!

Candyland said...

I love how your advice is short and to the point, sprinkled with the flavor of Jen:)

Matthew Rush said...

I love the humor you injected into this Jen, but I also seriously think you hit the nail on the head here when you said borderline. They key is to immerse the reader in the story, and to provide nothing that will remind them they are actually READING.

Flawed characters are important, but they can't be SO flawed that they aren't believable.

Christine Fonseca said...

Hot vamps....bwahahahaha!!!

Hannah Kincade said...

Hot vamps with cool names and a penchant for PB&J. Check! :D I love that you brought us some very important points in a humorous way. It'll help each of us remember all of it. We always remember the funny stuff. ;D

I'm having a blast reading everyone's posts! Great job!

Christine Danek said...

Hot vamps eating peanut butter and jelly with cool names--wait I think everyone said this but now I want to read a story about it.
Wait, I'm getting a visual--nice. You rock, Jen. Too funny.
Voice is the most important.
Thanks and have a great weekend!

Laura Pauling said...

Voice sticks out to me. Because without it, I'll lose interest in the character. Too bad there is no formula but voice except time.

Christina Lee said...

haha I like your points --PB&J! I passed on this one but am enjoying reading them!

Liza said...

Voice. Huge! Thanks for the reminder and thanks for being a host for this awesome fest!

Vicki Rocho said...

A strong voice will lead you through the dark back into the light. And here's to hoping that voice belongs to some hot guitar-playing vampire! ;)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Glad, Jen, you emphasized the hot part. ;)

The big ones for me are voice and my ability to connect with the character (which is due to numerous reasons).

Great list, Jen.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I love your list: short, sweet and to the point. LOL!

Bish Denham said...

YeeHa Jen! What a day this is going to be! It's gonna take me many days to read all these contributions!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Woot, I so agree on the voice. I need to connect to a voice to want to read on.

Plus, cute guys... OMG, I'm so with you on that. :)

Lovin the blogfest. :)

Emily White said...

Ahahaha! This post makes me think of those recipes that say "just add water."

Just add vampires. Hehehe! Great post!

clp3333 said...

So I've decided my next character is going to be a geeky hawt vampire guitarist named Remington Zaid. And every other chapter he's going to be eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, only in a very brokenly way. Thanks for the tips. :)

Erica M. Chapman said...

LOL! I love it. Yes, make them hot! I agree, there definitely has to be a connection (I love the peanut butter & jelly reference!) Voice is probably the most important for me!

I like a cool name too ;o) My MC is named, Snow ;o)

Great post! Have a great weekend ;o)

Michelle McLean said...

ahhh everyone needs fixing - perfectly said! :)

Kelly said...

Cool name, hot looks. Sexy voice. Oh, wait, I mean true, original voice. :)

j.leigh.bailey said...

C'mon! I'm sure Harry would fit into ANY story. Can you imagine him in the Hunger Games? If he could destroy Voldemort, those jerks from Sector 2 would be child's play.

iZombie said...

Hot P and J... i am all about the super rockin' names.
great post!
:)
jeremy
iZombie

Cruella Collett said...

Haha, there are some great and unexpected tips here. I think I agree with whomever said a PB&J-eating vampire certainly would be interesting!

Congratulations on the success in your experiment (would have participated myself, but I was too scatter-brained when I planned my week-in-posts) - that's a whole lot of different takes on the same subject! :)

Faith said...

Voice! I like that. I focused on rational flaws in my post, but voice is absolutely 100% necessary to get right as well. If the voice is off, the reader can't connect, and it's buh-bye to your book.

Great post!

Nicki Elson said...

"Not toppling off the cliff crazy"

Haha

Jennee said...

Love this list. Cool names are important. I hate trying to read about a hot, sexy Arthur or something. Totally throws off the vibe.

Teenage Bride said...

Jen you always have the best analogies "It's like Peanut Butter & Jelly" hahaha.

This is a really cool experiment. The entries sure are piling up!!!!

It really is interesting to see all of the differences.

have an awesome Friday and an amazing weekend!!! Give the hubs a big hug!!!

Jillian

Crystal Cook said...

Oh. My. Heck. I love your list! It's so you Jen :) Great points for sure!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, not interested in the vampires.
And not sure I'd call them 'hot,' but I have lots of guys for you! (Okay, all of my characters are men. So sue me.)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Ha ha! I would say your personality definitely comes through on this one, Jen! And holy long list of names, girl!! How on earth will I get to them all? :-)

What a success you guys are!

Meredith said...

Haha, I love this list! Yay for vampires working as a fallback option :)

Lola Sharp said...

PB & J! You are adorable, Jen. :)

I don't know if I agree with 'hot' or vampires (even though I like hot and hot vampires)...but I DO agree with voice.

Have a wonderful weekend, girlfriend.
Love,
Lola

Shallee said...

Thanks for helping host this awesomeness! I like your thoughts on a strong, independent, broken personality.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Thanks for hosting this experiment! I guess good characters are like peanut butter in that they stick to our readers. ;)

Michele Emrath said...

What a wonderful blogfest! I'm sorry I didn't see it in time to participate, but I must say I love the guidelines you've laid out here. For me, vampires and the like don't do it, but if there's a love interest, do make him hot! Love that.

Click over and read the entries to my blogfest today--it's Southern City Mysteries' birthday!

I'll catch your next blogfest. :)

Michele
SouthernCityMysteries

Tere Kirkland said...

Ha! Fun post! Love how you added vampires at the end. Hilarious!

Thanks for sharing,

Tere

Janet Johnson said...

I'm a PB&J fan, too! So is my MC in my current WIP. How funny!

Rose Cooper said...

The only thing with cool names is don't make them too over the top. I've read some books where the names are all so unusual it's hard to remember or pronounce and I spend more time on the names than the story. I always try to have at least one terrific unique name in the story, usually MC so that its memorable. Or a sprinkle in a few cool ones but not too over the top. Love your ideas!

N. R. Williams said...

Hmm...vampires wouldn't work in my epic fantasy. But you never know where the writing muse will take you. I'm part of the experiment too.
Nancy

Danyelle said...

I love the peanut butter and jelly part! And it's true. I love best those characters I can relate to and see a little of myself in. :)

Kimberly Franklin said...

The voice is what draws me in and makes me stick around. Of course, hot boys would never hurt either. :)

Mara Nash said...

The more obstacles the better...so true!

And personally? I'm a little burned out on vampires...hot or not. Unless someone can come up with yet another new twist on the theme!

stickynotestories said...

Voice is certainly KEY in writing good characters! If you can't keep your reader's attention with your character's voice then you've lost them forever.

And hot guys certainly don't hurt a story ;)

Elana Johnson said...

Dude, you totally cheated. You went for VOICE, which is a writing thing, totally NOT a character thing.

Okay, okay, it can be both, and in fact, should be. All right, you're really a genius.

Clarissa Draper said...

Love your list! Yes, people, they need to be hot... and available won't hurt either.

CD

Colene Murphy said...

I think you just solved my MS problem! no vampires. I knew it needed something...Thanks!!
Great post btw.

Len said...

Great post, Jen! :) It is so true what you said, participants of The Great Blogging Experiment is a success and we all wrote differently! Amazing! :)I like your 'peanut butter & jelly' bit :)

PK Hrezo said...

This was such a great idea, Jen! It's been so great to devour so many words of wisdom on such an important subject.
Can't wait to see what you pick next time. :)

Jolene Perry said...

Along with what you said, you characters each need to have their own language, words they like to use, words they'd never use...

DaniSue said...

Love that you mentioned character names! I wrote a blog about that not too long ago, hating a characters name is a big pet peeve for me.

Madeleine said...

Great points, excellent and thought provoking. Names are uber important to me too. I wonder what people would make of my character Suzanne in my blogfeast submission? Someone told me they thought she was dull and that they wouldn't want to meet her LOL!

Jackee said...

Happy Friday to you too! Thanks for the list of what you like in a character... I gotta admit it made me laugh. :o)

Lisa Potts said...

Thanks, Jen. I'm kinda partial to hot guys too. I always try to include at least one.

ali said...

ha! Great list Jen! I especially agree with names. Names can really make or break a character. I especially like names that are a little ironic. :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

You're right...you've got to "hear" the character...be it a hot vampire or a quirky kiddo named messy marvin. ;)

Have a wonderful weekend, Jen!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Voice is so important. Without it, the writing is flat and frankly, not worth reading.

Summer Ross said...

Yup right there with voice and vampires :)

melissa said...

Just make them hot....haha. Great idea! Hot guys always make me want to keep reading.

Nezzy said...

This Ozark farm chick just listens to the voices in her head, 'just no use to look any further!!! Heeehehehe! Great advice sir. :o)

Ya'll have a wonderfully blessed weekend from the happy hills and hollers of the Missouri Ponderosa!!!

Carolyn V. said...

Oh man! I love the pbj analogy! I should totally get some of that in my characters!

This has been so much fun Jen! Thanks! =)

Kelly Dexter said...

Thank you for using PB&J as an example of connection. It made me really happy :-)

Elena Solodow said...

Does it stand to reason that all vampires are compelling?

The Golden Eagle said...

Voice is SO important! If it's not there . . . I lose a lot of my interest in the book! I'm a little tired of vampires right now, but as long as they're original I'll stand them--maybe even like them!

Jen Chandler said...

Hooray for cool names and geeky guys :) Love this post!

Thanks for helping host an awesome blog experiment!

Jen

Kathryn said...

Oh, voice - completely! There are so many voices I've read that I've fallen in love with. When I can almost hear the exact pitch and tone of the speaker, I know it's something that'll captivate me, even if the story is subpar.

Great post, Jen!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Voice is about as sticky as peanut butter and jelly to nail but so important to the authenticity of character.
Thanks for hosting this fun event!

Heather Spiva said...

You're hilarious! Love this post. "Guys wanted" huh? Me likey a lot that part.
And it's a good point. :)
-H

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Great post and experiment!

Thanks for hosting!

Annette Lyon said...

I'm with ya--voice is a huge part of character.

(I've hereby linked here from my post!)

Heather said...

I think the most important one in your list is the one about having a connection. If I can't connect with a character, I don't care about them at all.

Patricia A. Timms said...

I especially love the rockin' names part, lol! True though. :)
I don't write vampires, but man, I really love to read them and especially in YA.

Great post and great experiment! Thanks!

Terry Stonecrop said...

So oriignal! Love your advice. You sure have a voice of your own:)

Elaine AM Smith said...

I will read anything if the characters can attract and hold my attention. The compelling character is the key.

Ishta Mercurio said...

LOL! I agree about voice, too. (And hot guys, in certain types of books. Like the ones with vampires.) Great job with this post!

Elizabeth Briggs said...

No more vampires aaaaaaaaah! Just kidding. I still love them. Sigh...

L'Aussie said...

Vampires, hee hee. I wrote my first vamp story a coupla days ago and it has been received well, due to sympathetic characterisation I am told. No matter who our characters are, we must give our readers a reason to like them on some level even if it is peanut butter and JAM!

Thanks for short and hot post..:)

Melissa said...

I've missed you! School's been killing me but I KNEW I needed to make time today. I'm so glad I did. This is a crazy awesome experiment and people really do sound different.

I love your advice, especially the peanut butter and jelly. It's just so you! You have such a strong voice on your own and I know it comes across in your characters too.

paulgreci said...

Great focus on the more obstacles the better!! Thanks!

Krispy said...

One should never underestimate the power of hotness. :)

VR Barkowski said...

Excellent! Fun tongue-in-cheek post that is full of truths. Especially the make 'em hot parts. ;)

Andrea Mack said...

Great experiment - it was fun to see different takes on the same subject. Voice is definitely critical (as long as it's consistent).

lbdiamond said...

Familiar and yet also unique=compelling. I agree!

Also, I'm glad you're a fan of vamps. Seems to be a dwindling population, sadly.

arlee bird said...

You cover the most important things sweetly and succinctly. Not sure I'll ever be writing about vampires, but anything can happen.

Lee
Tossing It Out

RaShelle said...

Jen - I LOVE it. Hot. A bit crazy. A cool name AND make them a vampire . . . =D So much fun.

Tamika: said...

Oooh, I love peanut butter and jelly! If I can make my characters stick to the reader like that my job is done:)

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Jen, what a rocking 'experiment'! Thanks so much for hosting!

~~that rebel, Olivia

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Jen! Thank you so much for hosting this fest for us! It's been an interesting adventure. Don't you just love writing? <3

Come and visit me!

Rachelle said...

Loved your PB&J tip! Voice is so important. My fav characters always have a voice that resonates with me, sticks with me, long after I finish the book.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yikes! I don't have vampires as a fallback position! I'd better get on that... :)

Angela M. said...

What? No sparkling??? Lol, I love that everyone hit on the Voice issue. It's pretty darn important. Too bad it's often also the most difficult to nail down, especially for newer writers.

Sometimes it makes me feel like Pinocchio waiting to become a real boy (or Pinocchia waiting to become a real girl?), the way I wait to get a real voice. Maybe I have it already. I really do hear it in others, but I wouldn't hear it in me if it yelled into a bullhorn against my ear.

tywo said...

Ha, I agree with these. I have a couple of the will Never read ones. You know, you go to the bookstore, start reading, decide to buy, go home, keep reading, then get bored..haha
I hope you have a wonderful weekend.



LOVE!

Jai Joshi said...

The Great Blog Experiment is clearly a huge success! Everywhere I've gone today in the blogosphere has been about writing compelling characters.

Jai

Lynda Young said...

Aw! I think toppling off the cliff crazy would make for a compelling character. ;)

Solvang Sherrie said...

This has been a great experiment! And I haven't come across any two posts that were the same :)

L.T. Elliot said...

I loved that you said "broken." I love a broken character. =]

Tyrean Martinson said...

I love the PB and J Connection! That's a great image, and I think it's so true. We need to feel connected to the characters we read.
Thanks for putting together the Great Blogging Experiment!

Mary Campbell said...

lol - if all else fails throw in a vampire. Funny post - thanks for hosting.

Stephen Tremp said...

This was a fun blogfest ... errrrr ... blogging experiment. It was fun to visit other blogs and read their perspectives of what makes compelling characters.

I agree characters need a catchy name. My protagonist is Chase Manhattan. Originally, I had him living in Manhattan (changes to Laguna Beach, CA). It has the word MAN in it. And HAT. Tough guys John Wayne and Indian Jones wore hats.

I selected Chase because because he is either chasing someone or something, or someone is chasing him.

And women love him. I made him kinda like me, only a little bit taller, a little stronger, faster, smarter, a litter better (ahem) endowed. Chase was a fun character to develop.

Stephen Tremp

Julie said...

Peanut butter and jelly.

Didn't see that coming. Love it!

Great post!

Karen Lange said...

This was such a great idea, glad you guys 'hosted' it for us!
Have a great weekend,
Karen

Clara said...

Oh Hail yeah sistah! Make them hot, hot HOT! Amem to that!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

You are so right about the little crazy! Not too much! Great advice here!

DL Hammons said...

Guys Wanted - Geeks, Jocks, Guitarists, doesn't matter who they are, just make them hot!

Ummmmm...I kind of lean in the other direction...so where is the Gals Wanted list? :)

Dominique said...

Okay,I definitely agree with you about the personality thing. Is it wrong is I secretly love characters with deep issues and the people who learn from and/or help them? That's my sort of story.

Also, I love the use of pbnj to describe character connections. My be stealing that in the future. "Whose the jelly to this peanut butter?"

Theresa Milstein said...

I like your fun take on the blogfest.

I dunno about vampires. Many agents are specifically saying, "No vampires".

Dayana Stockdale said...

Let's leave all the hotness to Hollywood and mix a little imperfections into our stories.

Deni Krueger said...

Just make 'em hot. Very funny.