Readers Crave Entertainment, but Information, Too
When I read, I want two things:
1. Entertainment. I want to have fun while exercising my brain.
2. Information, a sound message I can take with me.
In other words, I want to come away with something other than just a good read. Sure, entertainment will lead me to read your work if I like the genre, but in reality, I need to have a strong message to truly enjoy a book.
When a reader reads your work, are they getting something out of it?
Message from Lord of Columbia
For instance, we’ll use Lord of Columbia, my debut novel coming in September. I’m definitely wishing to entertain my audience, but there’s so much more to Lord of Columbia than entertainment.
1. I have a purpose to spread the idea of liberty over security and promote ideas I believe the United States needs to follow, or get back to following.
2. I want people to realize the harshness of a statist society, and that a police state only leads to pain and suffering down the road. In other words, trading in civil liberties for increased security almost never works for private citizens.
3. I make several hints in Lord of Columbia referring to the Bill of Rights, which modern-day politics have reduced to rubble or at times, completely thrown out. Going to war without congressional authority with another country in another continent that poses zero threat to national security is one of many issues.
Before you sit down to write any work, ask yourself what your message will do for the reader. I get that you want to entertain, and you should, but what kind of message will the reader get from reading your work over another.
How can you, as an author, best relay your message?
Think about how you plan on relaying your message to the world in a peaceful, non-threatening manner.
Perhaps you have a character who thinks opposite of your book’s message in the beginning, and changes throughout the book?
Character arc, in other words.
Types of Characters
In Lord of Columbia, I follow the Hero’s Journey to a great extent. For instance, the reader will identify the following characters, each with their own distinctive arcs, personas, and agendas.
1. Protagonist, who’s the hero of the work. He’s initially unaware of the totalitarianism surrounding him, as he’s narrow-minded and self-centered.
2. Herald, the protagonist’s friend who takes him to a part of the world he’s never seen.
3. Mentor, whom he meets and is given wisdom to combat his new enemy.
4. Allies, his team of close friends, who I later dub in the book the Northern Knights, in case anyone’s wondering why I chose it as the title.
5. Shapeshifter, a character who the reader won’t know whether they should trust. Note, I had a lot of fun creating this archetype.
6. Trickster, this character serves as comic relief in the work. They have a very small role in the plot, but always burst onto the scene, sometimes for irrelevant purposes, to give the readers a laugh.
7. Guardian, the character, in this work anyway, playing the voice of reason. While my main isn’t a look before they leap type, this one is. In Lord of Columbia, they’re also an ally.
8. Shadow, this character becomes the villain once he finds my main took on his army of imperial overlords. In love with his power and position, the shadow becomes obsessed in pursuing and stopping my protagonist.
It’s important to note each type of character is beneficial to my main, and again, they all have their own distinctive personalities and agendas, some of which correlate with the main while others look to stop him and the Northern Knights at all costs.
But, at the end of the day, freedom, Constitutional freedom, is the true message of the work, and it’s my job for it to shine through and through.
I hope you all enjoyed this rather brief article and I wish for you all to conquer your challenges over the course of your week, please come back soon.