Creating Unique Characters with Unique Problems

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Dear Subscriber,

I received an email that allowed you to use AI to list your book by mood and emotions. They also had instructions on how to make your book more emotional. This point is what strikes me as the heart of the problem of the new sensitivity of characters that “must be relatable”:

Make sure readers identify with the protagonist. Readers experience emotions through the eyes of the characters. That’s why it’s essential that your protagonist or main character be relatable and sympathetic. The more invested readers are in the character development, backstory, and plot points involving the protagonist, the more they’ll be able to identify with their own emotional experiences. That’s why writing your big emotional scene on page one isn’t as effective as waiting for the climax—the reader needs time to build a relationship with the main character.

I have never in my life thought about personally “identifying” with a fictional character. I want characters to be unique and full of problems. I don’t want to identify with the protagonist on a personal level. We read and study fiction to become aroused about human problems, not to relate to the characters on a personal level. Each human being is unique, not “relatable.” I knew that when I was three years old.

With this concept in mind, I don’t usually applaud many online “story” publications, but I’ve read this work, and I think it’s very superior to most of the so-called “literary” fiction out there. Most of what I’ve read has been very sophomoric and gimmick-ridden stuff, but “Story Unlikely” is not about that.

Take a look for yourself. Read about them and who they are. I’m not getting any kick-backs, just my opinion that you’ll get something worthwhile with these free stories. I submit my own work to them after I discovered them, but this is not the only reason I am featuring their web site. They are making a go as an independent publisher because they listen to the readers and provide unique stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

As my wife, Ellen, used to say, “Enjoy!”

James Musgrave

San Diego, CA

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