The other day I started reading Jealousy written by Marsha D. Jenkins-Sanders. The novel is written under Zane’s trademark. The Story revolves around ugly duckling Rochelle Jackson who has very masculine facial features. Though she isn’t as pretty as her cousin Dakota North who she lives vicariously through she still tries to fit in.

Dakota is living the life mingling with the rich and notably famous, marrying rich and handsome men and traveling around the world. Things take a horrible turn when Rochelle decides she wants to take her cousin out.

Though I think the concept of the story is great I think it was poorly executed. The story dragged on for the first half of the book making it difficult for me to get through it. You also didn’t get a sense of who the character was until somewhere in the middle.

I love reading fiction especially fiction with a strong lead character and I felt like this story left me a bit confused and unconnected. I hate starting books and not finishing them so I forced my way through hoping it would get better. I have only read a few of Zane’s books and was a bit disappointed that this story didn’t deliver.

Being a writer I always worry about engaging my audience. I want my characters to be relatable and memorable. I want you to feel their pain, cry when they cry and feel betrayed when they are. Powerful writers know how to suck you in with the first sentence and make it impossible for you to do anything else until you reach the end. I strive to be that type of author every day. How important is character development when trying to determine if a story is worth following?

  1. forgingshadows says:

    It’s hard to develop a character that’s interesting, clever, admirable but not superhuman. They have to do things the reader would do, be clever enough to do things the reader wouldn’t think of, and make forgivable mistakes. It’s a tough world out there for characters!

    But if we do it right, then we’ve got people rooting for us until the very end. And, more importantly, rooting for our creations. That’s something, at least.

    • kcbaylor says:

      You are very right, I generally let my characters tell me who they are when I feel most inspired. When I feel a wave of inspiration I just write and the character emerges and then I build the story around what I already have. Most readers are forgiving with characters who have captured their hearts from the start. How do you develop your characters?

      • forgingshadows says:

        This is a tricky one. I think that when an idea usually comes to me, it’s a character or set of characters in a particular situation. Unraveling the plot helps to determine the nature of the characters, who then develop and determine the course of the plot. It all gets convoluted and a bit messy.

        Also, I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. That never helps things.

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