Music moves me. Certain songs cause my heart to overflow with gratitude and joy. Especially songs that reflect on how much God loves us. I've noticed that as I get older, these songs tend to leave me with teary eyes and emotions I can't quite put into words. One of my newest favorite songs (it changes weekly) is Jason Gray's song More like I'm falling in love. You can listen to it here.
There is just something so true and honest about the message in his song. Love is one of the strongest emotions we are able to experience. It brings to our minds past memories, smells, tastes, sounds and visions. Love is very powerful. What makes us fall in love with someone or something? What keeps us in love? Aside from the initial rush of feelings, love is a choice. I have chosen (by way of researching, learning, feeling and trusting) to believe in God. It's very easy for me to believe in Jesus but it's even easier because I have fallen in love with Him. The same is true of my husband and my kids. No matter what happens in life, I'm committed to them because I love them.
We need to achieve the same "in love" feeling when it comes to dreaming up and writing out our characters. The lyrics in Jason Gray's song are not only true when it comes to believing in Christ - they are also true of our writing. Here are a few of my observations:
1. "I need more than a truth to believe, I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes, To sweep me off my feet..." We need more than characters that move along our story. We need to believe that what our hero/heroine is facing is important and relateable on a personal level. Readers want to be swept off their feet with compassion and likability for our characters.
2. "More like losing my heart, than giving my allegiance..." If I spend $14.99 on a book I feel like I have a certain responsibility to the characters I read about...It's my job to love them, to cheer them on, to hope for their success and happiness. And yet sometimes I'm so disappointed in the characters that the entire book falls apart for me. Just choosing to buy the book guarantees my allegiance to the main characters. But I want more from them. I want to lose my heart to them also.
3. "In more than a name, a faith, a creed. Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me..." I love books that focus on real life questions and issues that believers and nonbelievers face. But the decision to change, to believe, to place ones hope in something is not due to policies and procedures. People change because they have fallen in love with Jesus and what He is able to do for our lives this side of heaven. He is the highest motivator. Readers won't believe anything you write about your characters unless you are able to make the connection from words to feelings.
What makes you fall in love with the characters you read about? What are your writing tips that get readers hooked on your characters?