Revising a novel gives me the same dread I felt when writing the saggy middle of my story. I was standing at the beginning of an unending cracked desert and had no idea how to get to the other side. Mouth goes dry. As does every impulse. But in order to get from a crappy first draft to a polished manuscript, you have to go through the storm—the parts that hold your story together, the big stuff. Luckily, I've pieced this process into three steps that keep me sane.
When I think about good stories, stories that last with me long after the last page was turned, it’s often the characters that stick with me. I feel I could know them inside and out as much as the people in my life. What they like and hate, how they would react to any situation, and the key to their happiness.
Like people, characters make first impressions. Readers will either like or dislike a character immediately. It’s up to writers to sculpt their characters for a desired effect and control the reading experience for their audience.
Often revealing character can feel like you’re showing your poker hand prematurely and it’s especially difficult to balance when the plot is character driven (meaning the primary conflict comes from within the protagonist). So how do we help readers understand our characters if our characters are unwilling to share or if sharing runs the risk of weakening conflict?