If you’re here for the query letter blogfest, my entry is here.
If you're here for the Crazy Holiday blogfest, my entry is here.
Sympathetic characters. What exactly does that mean? What do critique partners and agents/editors mean when they say you need to create more sympathy for a character?
The more I think about it, the more I think it means that the character isn't relate-able, they can't bond with the character. They don't understand the character's emotions and motive.
Which means I won't be giving Lorna a pet puppy. :)
Lorna undergoes huge character growth in the novel. In the beginning, she's cynical. Tough. Rough. She is an assassin after all. Has been for nearly a decade when the story starts. In the beginning, she enjoys killing. She's cocky and arrogant about her killing ability.
But she does change throughout the novel.
When I do back and read through the feedback that I've received for various beginnings of the story, I first was told to slowly add in her reason for being an assassin. So I changed it to reflect this. I drop hints (her first target is a druggie. At the end of the scene, you learn that he also used to beat up his son).
Then I was told that I should move up the sympathy. That readers needed to have sympathy for Lorna immediately, on the first page.
BUT most of those people that said that also said that they don't read assassin stories. I don't think they will ever feel for an assassin. Which makes them not my potential readers.
Basically, I am going to change the beginning. I'm going to add a scene where Lorna witnesses the abuse and decides to kill the druggie husband even though the mother wasn't able to come up with the money for Lorna's hefty fee. Doing that will create real smypathy in the reader (versus the fake sympathy from adding a puppy) but it will also show Lorna's god complex (you have to have a god complex in order to be an assassin) and will also lend more credibility to Lorna's growth and change throughout the rest of the novel.
What does sympathy mean to you? Do you have a hard time writing sympathetic characters?