Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Are Your Characters Memorable?

There are many important aspects to think about when writing a book, but one of the most important is creating interesting, compelling characters, people your readers will identify with and care about. Characters to remember.

I've written over two dozen books in the past few years.  The first book I wrote was THE MITCHELL MONEY, which will be released in late April from The Wild Rose Press. I wrote the book several years ago, after visiting the rolling hills of Northern Arizona. I’d been sketching a house plan – a long time hobby – and wondered what kind of people would live there. What was their story? I found rancher and former cop Gary Martinson’s name first, but struggled to find the right name for the other main character. When Rachel Woods finally revealed herself, I could picture her living in the house, and the story unfolded.

Gary and Rachel are in their forties, and they’ve both been married before. Gary loved his wife deeply, but she died from cancer many years ago. He wouldn’t mind getting married again, if he could find the right woman, but he’s grown cynical and grumpy in his loneliness. Mavis Bidwell, town gossip and all around pest, has been after him for years, but he can’t stand to be around her.

Rachel had a miserable marriage to a secretive man. He hid most of their money before he died and left her with a half-built house and no way to make the payments. If she doesn’t find the money soon, she could lose everything. But grumpy Gary, the man who ran into her car and then blamed her, is the only person in Maystown who can help her find it. He strikes a deal – her cooking at his ranch in exchange for his investigative skills. But Gary finds a great deal more than Rachel expected. The money wasn’t the only thing her husband had hidden.

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to invite my fellow authors to blog with me and talk about the characters in your books. What are they like and why should we care what happens to them?


  1. Sounds like a good premise for a story, Sue. I look forward to reading it and learning more about how you plot out your characters

  2. THE MITCHELL MONEY sounds like a good read.

    I like stories built upon second chance, or rebound, relationships. I guess I’d better save my pennies so come April I can invite Gary and Rachel home for an evening of quiet reading.

    --- I look forward to more Sue Fineman gems on my return. Thank you Sue, Erin

  3. What Erin said, Sue. These two sound like fodder for a great story. I also love that you establish conflict by who they are. They're both stuck in their respective pasts. Gary can't let go of his dead wife, and Rachel, not only has problems, you've left her with ticking clock desperation. I would care about her instantly, and that's what makes great stories.

  4. Can't wait to buy the book, Sue!!!

  5. Characters are the bedrock of stories. Yours sound like they can eventually have a "meetig of their minds," but not before giving each other some grief! And therein lies a nifty plot. :)

  6. Thank you for your comments, ladies. Robin, I don't plot, but somehow the characters lead me in the direction they want to go.

  7. I'm looking forward to buying the book, too. I've read a small part of it and know your writing is excellent.
    I'll try to link up your blog to mine.

  8. I can't wait to read The Mitchell Money. Sue's penned characters who sound like people I want to know.