What is it about certain books that make us want to come back to them time and time again?
The easiest answer is characters you, as a reader, care about. You weren't the first to give a rat's hind-end either. Chances are, if the reader cares about the characters, then the author did too.
Why? What makes some characters so special that we think about them long after the final chapter?
Somehow along the journey, they became real to us. Real people(or other creatures as the case may be) who are flawed, but still lovable.
So how, as writers, do we create characters this fricking great? Climb into your character's head. Think like she does. Make her believe in things the same way you do, and get those beliefs in order.
And when I say the same way, I'm referring to in a similar manner. Don't funnel all of your beliefs into your fictional character. The reasons for this are numerous and I might tackle them later.
Eye on the prize here, champs.
I can not claim full credit for this exercise since I picked the list up over a year ago from the Best Seller goddess, aka Suzanne Brockmann, in one of her online for writers guides. But I did make up the questions at the end, so I am a little bit cool.
All you have to do is list from most important to least important for Beliefs. Positive values and negative values. The following is the list, in no particular order.
And when I say you, I mean your character. Or if you're super special like me, you can do your own and track the changes.
Beliefs: Rank the most important, i.e. the belief which trumps all others as #1 and so on. #8 may still be important, yet you don't live your life around it, more of a back of the closet type of belief.
1. Family and Relationships
4. Home and Security
5. Money and Finances
6. Career Choices
Positive Values: Same deal here. Put the concept/ trait you value most in the #1 slot.
Negative Values: What is the value you will go to extreme lengths to avoid? That goes in the #1 slot
Follow up questions:
Do any of your beliefs seem to conflict? Beliefs can often be found in adages or clichés such as "Money doesn't grow on trees" or "Love stinks." Any adages or clichés you live by? Do you think the priority of your beliefs and values have changed over the years? Why do you think that is? Did the order of the values either positive or negative surprise you at all. Are you ruled more by trying to obtain more positive values in your life, or avoiding the negative ones?