What are you passionate about? What makes you really happy? What makes you laugh? Cry?
If a reader doesn’t have a strong emotional connection with your novel (preferably early on) then you’ve probably lost them.
The emotional response doesn’t have to be with the protagonist. It might be with a secondary character, the setting, or the plot that makes your reader care about what happens next but the reader needs to feel something to want to keep reading.
I find that reflecting on what elicits strong emotional responses in myself is a good reminder of some of the emotions that I’m seeking to tap in to in my readers.
Here’s a brief list of a few things (in no particular order) that I’m emotional about :
10)Friends that make you laugh so hard you risk peeing in your pants (thank you, Michelle!)
This list focuses on things that I have a positive response about (Alas, I’d be much thinner if cheese made me sad…) but you could just as easily create a list of things that make you angry, sad, or afraid. Consider why each thing makes you feel a certain way. (Notice my ‘regular’ job didn’t make this list…hmmm…).
Take a moment to think about the things that you’re passionate about in your every day life. Then apply some emotion to your writing.