Now, let me begin with-- I'm not trying to compete with Kara! We are (if you haven't noticed) doing this blog together I just thought it might be nice to have two different views (on two different topics, she was talking about what you shouldn't have, and I'm going to talk about what you should have.) :)
Okay, whew, now that THAT is cleared up... ;)
1. Have A Goal.
Now, not in a 'I'm going to write 50,000 words in a month' goal, but you main character should have a goal. One time I read this book, and the goal wasn't clear. So I asked the author what the goal of the main character was... and the author didn't really tell me... she just kind of told me the back cover...
The goal doesn't have to be complicated, but I think the goal should be able to be summed up in one sentence. (not to get confused with the One Sentence Pitch or the Elevator Pitch which I'm not going to talk about today.
In The Hobbit Bilboe's goal is to defeat a dragon.
In The Jerk Magnet it's to see if people really do treat you differently based on how you dress.
2. Have More Than Just One Character.
I have heard of stories that had just one main character, but what I'm trying to say is, have your main character interact with other characters. Maybe just have them do some homework together, where your main character just DOESN'T get something-- (which is good, because you're throwing in a flaw....). Or maybe a friend needs to vent about something, and your main character is there. Do you really want to write a story where the readers come away and only have feelings for the main character? No.
(Just think of all the side characters you love in other books, or movies, or TV shows. John Watson from BBC Sherlock, or Todd from the Christy Miller series.)
Even if your story isn't a suspenseful story-- you need suspense. Just an 'are they going to get away with...?' or an "Is the main character going to accomplish...?"
I was recently reading the book that I thought was overall okay, but near the end... I was gripping my Tablet a little hard hoping everything would be okay-- which is good, it's what you want! That's what will keep readers reading to late. :)
4. A Satisfactory Ending.
Not necessarily a happing ending (but who's going to complain if it's not happy? Not me!) , but one, when you are finished, where you close the book and don't feel like they've wasted time. The reader has taken so much time to find, start, read, and finish your novel, you should the common courtesy of making them not have to live through a terrible ending. :)
One last thing....
Sorry I've been absent for so long! I was sick, busy, and procrastinating and I'm not revealing in what order they happened.... Haha.