Reading a first draft can be rough. I love my characters. They have lovely, fanciful, fleshed out lives. But when I read my first draft, they were flat and dull.

I could remember their first steps and their first date. I remembered what they were like in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. I was there for their first crush and first heart break. I cheered them on during their first fight. I remember their interview for that job and helped them prepare for it. I remember their battle with that foul beast. When they are sad, I know what cheers them up. I know their favorite cartoon, color, restaurant, book, movie, videogame, dessert, vacation destination, magic spell, and weapon.

I think about such details. Each character is unique. They’re all interesting. Why do they translate as flapjacks?

Sometimes the narrative gets in the way. I become too interested in getting to the next plot point or fascinating reveal. I need to care more for my characters. I need to let their idiosyncrasies shine. As a reader, we look for those characters with whom we can relate. If that familiar part remains hidden, we’re not going to care what happens to them. Their journey becomes meaningless. I need to take the time to tell you all about them, let you know what makes them tick, and let you in on their secrets.

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