The most important part of any story is character. You can have a wonderful idea, completely fresh and original, something that’s never been seen before, and if you can’t sell it with interesting, sympathetic characters, it will die on the page.
Too many authors are intrigued by landscapes and evocative descriptions, and yes, they have value, but without some sort of connection to a human (or human-like) character, they won’t grip the reader like they should.
My readers have told me they identify with Jeremiah Jones, not because of his amazing abilities, but because he’s worried about the same kinds of things they worry about, because he’s put into difficult situations and is forced to do things for the greater good that he wishes he didn’t have to do.
He’s a killer, but a reluctant one. He’s generally selfless. He’s intelligent, but not in an overbearing way. And he understands that he’s not better than anyone else. In fact, he believes he’s worse than most everyone else because he’s a killer.
But he believes in himself too and trusts himself to do what’s right. And he’s relentless. Once he starts on a path, he will not deviate from it unless further action will harm innocents.
When he makes mistakes, he owns up to them. He doesn’t lay blame elsewhere.
All these qualities help make him someone we can admire. That is the best hook any writer can hope for—a character who makes you care, who makes you want him or her succeed.
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