Drug your readers. Five ways to get readers to want to lick your character like they're the Bowling Ball Guy

July 21, 2021 00:20:36
Drug your readers. Five ways to get readers to want to lick your character like they're the Bowling Ball Guy
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Drug your readers. Five ways to get readers to want to lick your character like they're the Bowling Ball Guy

Hosted By

Carrie Jones Shaun Farrar

Show Notes

You’re writing a book. Yay! You send it out to people to read. That’s so brave! Look at you, you rockstar.

It feels awesome, right?

And then you hear from those readers: I don’t like your character. I don’t—I don’t know—connect with them?

When this happens, you are not allowed to:

  1. Yell at those readers.
  2. Threaten those readers.
  3. Give up on that story.

Well, you could but you might go to jail and all your work on that novel will be for nothing.

So, it’s totally okay to:

  1. Whine/cry for a second.
  2. Be a little depressed about it.
  3. Not give up on that story.

And what you want to do is figure out how to make readers like and connect with your main character super quickly.

So here goes. Five quick ways.

  1. Gossip – Your readers want to know what makes your character tick, what makes them vulnerable. They want the deets, the gossip, right? They want to know something about your character that nobody else knows.
  2. Goodness – Even if your character sucks a bit, you want to show the reader that they are someone that the reader wants to spend time with. Show that human worth, the fundamental goodness that’s somewhere in there. Make them actively do something good even if they are the devil.
  3. Going all Angsty – The reason stories work is that the characters want something but they are conflicted about things inside. There’s got to be a bit of inner struggle. There has to be an outer struggle too. That struggle creates tension. Will they be okay? Will they get what they are searching for? What is holding them back?
  4. Going into the Reasons – You don’t want to flood your stories with flashbacks. You don’t want to be Captain Info-dump, but you do want the reader to know that there is something that has made your character the angsty mess that they are and that something haunting stems from the past. The time before the story.
  5. Goal!!! – I’ve already hinted at this, but your poor little character needs a goal, something they are striving for. The push towards that goal creates the tension.

Writer Chuck Wendig has said,

“You are the dealer; the character is the drug. The audience will do anything to spend time with a great character. We’re junkies for it. We’ll gnaw our own arms off to read just one more page with a killer character. It’s why sequels and series are so popular—we want to see where the character’s going. If you give us a great character, it becomes our only desire to lick him like he’s a hallucinogenic toad and take a crazy trip-ass ride where he has to go.”  

Writing Tip of the Pod

Make your characters irresistible any way possible. Memorable characters are addictive.

Dog Tip for Life

Vulnerability is okay. It connects us. If nobody was vulnerable then nobody could be brave.

Links We Talk About In Random Thoughts





The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

And we have a new podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Here’s the link. This week’s podcast is all about strange things people do for luck.

Other Episodes


April 05, 2022 00:11:53
Episode Cover


Here’s the thing: A lot of us are lonely. Really lonely. And making friends? As an adult? It can feel kind of scary. Why does this matter? Well, Sherri Gordon on Very Well Mind cuts right to the chase: We want all that for you, so we’re here with some advice on how to make friends Check out the people you work with One great way to make friends according to Dr. Miriam Kiramyer, a clinical psychologist interviewed by Emily Burns for The Cut is: “We all have workplace acquaintances that we know deep down could be something more. Dr. Kirmayer suggests taking the leap to growing those relationships. Find a common denominator you can bond over, like a shared hobby or interest! You don’t have to talk about work. “Making an effort to gradually open up about different parts of your life, that can help to deepen that sense of connection,” said Kirmayer. Talk about your life, what you like to do in your free time, etc. Perhaps set up a Zoom coffee chat with your fave colleague or schedule a hangout with the neighbor you always joke with in the hallway. Very Well Mind has a slew of suggestions, but one that resonated with us is: “Reach Out to Neighbors “Many people don't realize they have a potential friend living right next door or across the street. They give the courtesy wave and immediately close their door, not even trying to start a conversation. But there may be some really great friendships waiting for you right next door. So the next time you are both out, do more than just wave.” And then there is . . . Be Brave You have to be brave ...



April 27, 2021 00:21:36
Episode Cover

Where Does Inspiration Come From and Raccoons Robbing Banks

A lot of writers go around saying that they can’t find anything to write about. Ideas are everywhere; I promise. Just this week there was a headline on theslate.com that read, “Two ‘masked bandits’ raid California bank, and they didn’t want money, officials say.” The masked bandits were actually raccoons who broke into  Redwood City Bank though it was closed. They were reported when a guy using an ATM said he saw a stuffed animal moving around inside the bank. Humane society officials were called and the raccoons played tag for about ten minutes before letting the humans catch them. They think the raccoons gained entry via a tree, then some airducts. Then they broke out some ceiling tiles, messed up some of the man’s papers and tipped over a computer. They did not get hurt. They did not take any money. Maybe they took a wall calendar or a you just opened a new checking account gift, but we aren’t sure. So, you know that this is definitely a picture book or an early reader, right? That’s the thing, ideas are everywhere. During his TedTalk,  Steven Johnson  said “We take ideas from other people, people we’ve learned from, people we run into in the coffee shop, and we stitch them together into new forms and we create something new. That’s really where innovation happens. And that means we have to change some of our models of what innovation and deep thinking really looks like, right?” In another TedTalk, writer Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how ancient Greeks believed that creativity didn’t come from us humans, but from daemons, “divine attendant spirits.” Socrates was really into that. And the Romans, she says, called these spirits “genius.” Ideas are genius. Ideas were ...



December 29, 2020 00:26:25
Episode Cover


Eight Sexy Ways to Write Sexy Carrie’s been editing a lot of erotica lately and despite her uptight New England ways, we thought it was time to give you all a few hints about writing sex scenes. Gasp! I know! I know! Here we go… Hint #1 It needs to make sense. We’ve all seen really un-sexy writing, right? You’re reading the passage and they are in a kitchen in a house in Wyoming and doing it on the counter and then—poof—they are in four-some on some beach in Belize. And you’re reading this and you go, “What the what?” The sexy parts doesn’t matter because the rest doesn’t make any sense. Hint #2 Don’t make it vanilla. Most readers aren’t reading because they want to hear about the same old missionary sex that they’ve been doing with their own partners for the last thirty-two years. We read books to experience new things. We read books to live out fantasies we might never have in our own life. We read books to feel like characters who aren’t us, to empathize, learn, and discover. We read books to get what we can’t always get in real life. So make it hot. Hint #3 Make your character interesting and not just um… someone who is having sex, rutting in various places. Hint #4 Be into it. No matter what your personal feelings are about sex, you want to write about it like you’re really into it. You want those endorphins to be out there on the page. You can be male, female, agender, gender nonconforming, gay, straight or pan to write sex. You can be any race or religion or ethnicity or social class to write sex. Sex is pretty much a thing that a lot of adults do. That’s ...