What Makes Us Love Bookish Characters? (by Tina Radcliffe) + Giveaway!



Welcome back, TINA! As many of you know, I'm a big fan of Tina Radcliffe and she loves stopping by and chatting with y'all. Today is a special day. Of course it's Valentine's Day, but it's also a joint-force adventure in hosting Tina between Carrie of Reading is My SuperPower and myself, here at Just Commonly blog! 

Now, for my new readers and in case you're not familiar with Tina Radcliffe, here's a bit about her:

Tina March 2018 2A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina Radcliffe is an RWA Honor Roll member, a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, and three-time ACFW Carol Award nominee.  She is a 2018 ACFW Mentor of the Year recipient and a 2018 Carol Award finalist. Her 11th book for Harlequin Love Inspired, Her Last Chance Cowboy, releases in print on February 19th.  In addition to novel-length fiction, Tina has sold over two dozen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. A former library cataloger, Tina is a frequent presenter on writing topics and an online instructor. She currently resides in Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming romance.

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Stay up to date on all her releases by signing up for her newsletter HERE. (http://bit.ly/2angfWP)



Happy Valentine’s Day and thank you to Annie, for hosting me today.

Like any creative art, writers choose to learn and grow their skills by sitting at the feet of the experts in their field. I am a strong proponent of Michael Hauge, and his Hero’s Two Journeys and the Six Stage Story Structure method.

Hauge is a former Hollywood screenwriter. His methodology speaks to me and apparently to others, as many other instructors utilize his body of work to create their own plotting method.

Why should this interest you, the reader? Because I’d like a bit of feedback from you on this methodology.

Hauge says that in order to create reader empathy or identification (in order to make the reader CARE about your characters) you must make a character sympathetic to the reader.

To do that apply two or more of the following:

1. Make the character the victim of some undeserved misfortune.
2. Put the character in jeopardy (in danger of loss).   
3. Make the character likeable-liked by others in the book.
4. Make your character funny.
5. Make your character powerful.

Let’s break that down a bit. When we are reading, we actually become the characters and experience emotions through the characters. It’s been said of romance novels, that we become the heroine and fall in love with the hero.

The same is true in movies, so I’ll use classic books and/or movie examples that you may relate to because not all of us have read the same current novels.

Examples:

1. Make the character the victim of some undeserved misfortune.
Kathleen in You’ve Got Mail. Her family bookstore is about to go under because of the big bad box store. We definitely sympathize with her as the bookstore is her heritage.

2.  Put the character in jeopardy (in danger of loss).  
Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. We connect to characters when we worry about them and we are definitely worried about Dorothy and Toto with a tornado coming!

3. Make the character likeable-liked by others in the book.
I am reminded of Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables. Nearly everyone likes Anne and if they don’t, then we don’t like them either. She’s self-deprecating and grandiose at times, but everyone loves Anne.

4. Make your character funny.
 One word. Shrek.
Although some of the best lines in the Shrek movies come from Donkey. We like funny characters.

5. Make your character powerful.
The movie/book I am reminded of here is Pride & Prejudice. There is something about Darcy’s power that keeps our interest and respect, despite his initial arrogance.

You’ll notice that many of these main characters utilize several of these categories. Overlapping is definitely a plus. The more of these qualities a character possesses, the more we are endeared to them. When we are endeared to a character, we keep reading and that’s a plus for authors.

Look at William Goldman’s classic, The Princess Bride. Wesley is the victim of undeserved misfortune, in jeopardy, liked by others, funny and in his mask and black costume..he’s powerful-ish!  This is why this novel has been read and loved by readers since it was first released in 1973.

From the author: "I've gotten more responses on The Princess Bride than on everything else I've done put together—all kinds of strange outpouring letters. Something in The Princess Bride affects people."
And that is exactly what writers want. To affect people!

Tripp Walker, the horse whisperer in Her Last Chance Cowboy has been one of my favorite characters to write because he too fits the bill for satisfying all five character traits listed above. Waiting until book four to write his story was actually difficult, but it took three books for him to open up and tell me about his past. I hope you’ll enjoy his story!

Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite/s of the above attributes for characters?
Can you provide examples? One easy way to find examples is to think about your favorite Disney animated films. They’re classics because they strongly follow this technique.


ABOUT HER LAST CHANCE COWBOY

Title: Her Last Chance Cowboy
Series: Big Heart Ranch, Book 4

Author: Tina Radcliffe
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired
Release Date: Feb. 19, 2019 (Print) / Mar 1, 2019 (Ebook)
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Western
Link: Goodreads l Book Bub 

She came seeking family…
Will she find love at Big Heart Ranch?

When pregnant single mother Hannah Vincent shows up professing to be the half sister of the Maxwells of Big Heart Ranch, horse trainer Tripp Walker is wary. Wounded before, he doesn’t trust easily. If only Hannah and her feisty five-year-old daughter weren’t so impossible to resist. Now, despite his doubts, joining this little family is quickly becoming the cautious cowboy’s greatest wish.

Preview Christmas with the Cowboy HERE.

TO PURCHASE A COPY*


OTHER BOOKS IN THE Big Heart Ranch Series*

y404  Falling for the Cowgirl Cover  9781335509796


GIVEAWAY


You can win and autographed print copy of Her Last Chance Cowboy, 3 Frostbeard Studios Book Lovers Soy Candles (Bookstore-Study Break Chai Latte-Reading at the Café) and a $25 Amazon Gift Card. All courtesy of Tina! (Reading at the Cafe is my personal favorite!)


Giveaway will begin at midnight February 14, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on February 21, 2019. Winner will be notified within 1 week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Due to shipping cost, only US/Canada mailing addresses valid for entry. For our giveaway rules and policy, click HERE.
Be sure to stop by Reading is My SuperPower for extra entries!!

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

CONVERSATION

79 comments:

  1. I love people with a great sense of humor. So I love when a character is fumny.

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  2. I enjoy when a character is in jeopardy. Great example is Lilo & Stitch movie when the house is destroyed no fault of hers or stitch but that he is being hunted in a sense.

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    1. LOL. So true. I think that keeps the suspense going! LOL. Thank you

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    2. This is another great story and character plot because you know that you are going to totally engage your sympathies. WE LOVE UNDERDOG CHARACTERS!!

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  3. I'm watching Mary Poppins today with my kids for a Valentine's Day homeschool party. So those characters are in my head. Bert is funny, liked by Mary and the children, and the victim of the unsympathetic rain washing away his chalk drawings.

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    1. Exactly, Lila! Happy Valentine's Day to you and thanks for taking time from your day to stop by!

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    2. HAHAHAH> I love Mary Poppins - though I do find Mary mean at times. =P But memorable!

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  4. A likeable character is always nice.

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  5. I love funny characters! One of the things that attracted me to my husband was his sense of humor!

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    1. Absolutely, MissMaria! It's essential. A sense of humor covers a multitude of sins! HA! Hoping you and your hubby have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

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    2. You can never go wrong with adding a bit of humor in a character or story!

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  6. Good morning, Annie and Tina!

    Your thoughts on why readers like...identify with....characters is fascinating. I seem to love the wounded heroes. The ones hurt by misfortune. Beauty and the Beast is one of my all time favorites. The hero doesn’t deserve his prison. He is self-sacrificing as he allows Belle to leave, then her love frees him. Perfect!

    Thanks for the giveaway. Hero Tripp is one of my favorites. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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    1. Wounded ones are definitely memorable. I also love the redemptive quality these heroes learn along the way!

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  7. Hi Sherida! I like funny and wounded underdog which is generally the type of hero I write. LIKE TRIPP WALKER!! LOLOL! Happy Valentine's Day!

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  8. I definitely love a character with a good sense of humor! :) Happy Valentine's Day!

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  9. I enjoy realistic characters who are vividly portrayed. Characters whom I can relate to with and have life experiences. Anne

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  10. Well said, Anne! Thanks for stopping by!Happy Valentine's Day!

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  11. Thank you for your thoughts! Such a thoughtful giveaway!
    faithdcreech at gmail dot com

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  12. I would say when a character has overcome adversity.

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    1. Definitely. I also love to criticize or get mad at those creating difficulty for our characters! LOL. Villains can be memorable too!

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  13. That's another good one. Especially if it makes us relate to the character on a deeper level. Thank you for taking time to stop by and comment. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  14. One of my favorite books is Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson and her main character Marianne has all five attributes in some way. Now I realize why it's such an engaging story!

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    1. COOL! I've heard great things about Edenbrooke!

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    2. I've heard a lot about this too, Heidi. Must read!

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  15. These 5 things are all important to me when choosing books to read. I want high stakes as well as mistakes my characters face. When I write, I try to think of why my character wants to accomplish something and throw obstacles in his or her way. Humor is always appreciated too and a great way to break tension before diving back in to conflict.

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    1. Well said, Danielle! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

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    2. Danielle! We meet again. You do an excellent job of breaking it down. Thank you!

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  16. Great post, Tina! I can see how these things would make us care about the characters. I love it when characters are humorous. I think when the main character is a victim of undeserved misfortune it creates almost instant empathy for the person.

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  17. I enjoy a funny character.
    Marilyn

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  18. I enjoy characters who have some humor and are likable. They usually do need to face some kind of adversity to make the story more interesting.

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  19. What matters most to me is a likable character. If I don't care about them, I don't care what happens to them! There are a few exceptions, usually if the story is very suspenseful I'll continue to read even if I don't love the characters.

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    1. I'm with you. For me the characters are actually more important than the plot.

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    2. Yea. It's important if the characters make us want to continue on...

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  20. I love a character who is funny. :)

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    1. O yes! They are always my favorites too!

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    2. I am way behind here. So sorry. I flew to Michigan to speak. Thank you, Amelia, for stopping by. BTW, another great heroine name!

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  21. To me, the first one I think of as enjoyable would be making the character the victim of some undeserved misfortune as in a lot of the Disney movies - Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella. However, I also like a bit of comical character like the Dwarfs in Snow White. The stories I enjoy the most are those that connecting to the characters because they are believable and ones we can relate to on some bases. They pull at you emotionally either through love, laughter or even pain pulling for the happily ever after we all strive for. Also the characters that you hate to see the story end, even if it is happily, and are hoping there is a book 2 or more because they have become family in a sense.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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    1. Lol, makes sense. Thanks for sharing.

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    2. Agree with you, Kay. And I hate when a series ends. SNIFF!!

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  22. Thanks for the Valentine's giveaway! Vivian Furbay jtandviv (at) q (dot) com

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  23. I like characters that are likeable. The example I can think of Cinderella. She is also victim of undeserved misfortune because of the way she's treated by her stepmother & stepsisters. She is put in jeopardy because she has to make it back in time from the ball so she doesn't get caught but she loses her glass slipper. But she's powerful because overcomes being treated that way and she ends up "getting the guy" in the end.

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    1. HA!!! WELL DONE, Julie Waldron. You nailed that synopsis of the story.

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  24. I like to be able to the characters through their trials. So I would go with 1 and 2 but I don't like it when there is false accusations that get drug out through the whole book. Nor do I care for silly misunderstandings.

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    1. The hardest part of the story for me is coming up for ways to torture the characters, Emilee.

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  25. I love a sense of humor and I’m blessed my hubby and I laugh every day.

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  26. I really like funny and strong characters in books. It makes for a good storyline.

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  27. My head is spinning Tina...trying to catch you here and there lol
    I like loyal, vulnerable, and funny characters <3

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  28. This book sounds like a really sweet read and I can't wait to get a copy.

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  29. I love the way you describe the main character as if he's real. My husband says that's the mark of a good writer.

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  30. Hi Tina, I guess it is because I am now re-watching many of the Disney movies with my granddaughter but I do tend to gravitate toward the characters that have suffered a misfortune. Cinderella was treated horribly by the stepmother and step-sisters; Sleeping Beauty is targeted with the poison apple; and need I mention the Beast. And I have always been a sucker for the underdog!
    Thanks for a great post!

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    1. I think of all the Disney stories, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite. Might be due to the books in the library at the Beast's house.

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  31. I enjoy characters who are both likable and funny. Flynn Rider from Tangled is a good example. Another character who embodies most of these attributes is George Bailey from It's A Wonderful Life - I adore him.

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    1. Confession. I have never seen Tangled. Must correct this. Hanging my head in shame.

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  32. Looks like a great book. I too live in Arizona.

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