The relationship between characters and plot in any novel is pivotal and tricky. A story is often plot driven but what I remember most when I finish a satisfying read are the characters. Of course, good plots make characters memorable—how they get in and out of jams, express or repress their emotions, and make sacrifices—but down deep I just like who they are above and beyond what they do. They may start out as the “tail” but they end up as the “dog".
Dear Fellow Author,
If you’re thinking of asking for reviews from friends and acquaintances you respect and trust, and who know a few things about writing and storytelling, here are ten points you might consider:
1. If friends give you an enthusiastic "yes, of course I'll review your book," best they know the length of your book. If possible, set a soft time goal that's both comfortable for author and reviewer.
2. Sometimes the best thing a would-be reviewer can do is be straight with the author. An upfront "I wish it were otherwise, but I can't help you" is far better than an endless protraction of good intentions.
Seeing yourself as a writer, objectively, can be tough. There are periods when everything flows and you experience euphoria. Other times, I get trapped in my memories, or on a spectrum of emotions ranging from positive to “is this really happening to me?” I always pray that on any given day I can find time to write, and that my imagination is working. A defiant, uncooperative, or half-aslep muse can take a week or two off your life, if not longer.
Michael's thoughts on writing, politics and everything in between.
Michael R. French graduated from Stanford University where he was an English major, focusing on creative writing, and studied under Wallace Stegner. He received a Master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He later served in the United States Army before marrying Patricia Goodkind, an educator and entrepreneur, and starting a family.