C is for Character
Unless your book is about wood chips, you probably have at least one character. But do I care about him?
It doesn’t really matter what the book is about or how it’s written as long as the reader cares about the character. What’s going to happen to him or her? Will they succeed? Fail? Get what they want? Or not? Move forward or backward? Die? Be killed off? Fall in love? It doesn’t matter what happens. The only thing that matters is that I care what happens, that I want to know what happens. If you have that, then you have a character.
It doesn’t matter if the character is mean, loving, fat, sick, adorable or a poodle. It does matter if I care what happens to that character. That’s about as best as I can describe it.
Of course then the hard part is, “How do you help your read care about your character?” Aha, yes, there’s that. Quick answer, I don’t know. Slower answer, give me reasons to care. I think the writer needs to give me elements of the character so that I can “get to know him” and then I can judge whether or not I care. Remember, this doesn’t mean that the character needs to be likable, but I need to have something to get to know, elements that I can understand and then choose for myself whether or not I care.