Thursday, February 2, 2017

Guest Post: When Readers Fall in Love with Your Characters by @SharonLHughson #WritersLife


by Sharon L. Hughson

Writers publish stories in hopes they will find a home in the hearts and minds of readers. But what happens when an author churns out a stand-alone story only to have readers clamor for MORE about those characters?

It’s happened to me as a reader. I dive through the magical portal into a story world that captivates me. I adore the snarky, independent shero. My heart palpitates over the strong and protective hero. Their problems become my reality.

Until the last page. When I have to say goodbye.

It’s the reason I love finding a good series with many books already written (because it’s a curse to wait for the next installment). Or why I’ll search for other titles in the same genre by the author who enthralled me with the stand-alone tale.

There are days I want to know what Aragorn did next. Or what will happen when Scout grows up. Or how the dragon training is going for Eragon.

My love of good stories led me to pen my own.

But sometimes, I create a cast of characters on a whim. They have their shining moment in my imagination, and I bleed them onto the page.

After duly revising, editing and polishing their little story, I submit it to the publisher and move on to the next one.

I adore when readers say things like “I sighed over the geeky love interest” or “It nearly brought me to tears.”

When they stop me after church to ask, “What happens next with Marcus and Ronnie?”

That sounds a little more demanding.

“Things were just getting good. I NEED to know what happens next.”

And I understand that desperation. I’ve mentally written sequels to answer the questions for characters I loved whose story wasn’t finished in my heart and head.

It’s not that I didn’t know where things were heading for Ronnie Shay and her virtual match, Marcus Jordan. They are totally going to live happily ever after.

But are there a few bumps in their road? Will those bumps make for an interesting story?

I guess my editor at Roane Publishing will find out soon enough. Because the Novella Niblets title I released this week is the first in a planned trilogy.

Better yet, I’ve already written a rough first draft of the next installment.

So, if you read Reality Meets its Match and the sigh at the end leads you to wonder, “And then what?” Take heart.

In this case, the story is only on pause. Another chapter is being written.

What story were you sad to see end? I would stay up late to read the sequel to…


About Sharon L. Hughson:

Translating wind-whispered concertos into fiction, Sharon Hughson writes romance and young adult fantasy, living out her lifetime dream and calling it “a job.” After being saved by The Chronicles of Narnia as a teenager, S.L. decided escaping reality alone isn’t nearly as delightful as sharing those make-believe worlds with friends. To that end, she invites you to enter her story realm and fall in love all over again.

Even after twenty-some years married to her high school sweetheart, she enjoys the hearts-a-flutter rush from a well-told romantic tale. S.L. resides in Oregon with her husband, sons and three cats.




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