Simple message this morning: some recent editing prompted me to ask the question, why do I care?
Now I don’t mean that flippantly, why do I care, maybe I’ll go and do something else instead, I mean why do I care about what happens in this story? How important is that?
Nutshell answer: of course it’s important or I will go do something else instead, right? (If I’m the reader that is, so many books out there, so why invest in this one if I don’t care enough?)
And it had me thinking… in a crime novel, if the victim is painted as someone who doesn’t sound nice and even his family show no sadness at his untimely death, how much do I want to read on? In other words: how much should you care about the victim?
I believe you have to make the reader care, they might not be sad, but without feeling the injustice and seeing the family react to the person, you don’t connect as you should. This has to be what motivates the actions of the police in solving the crime, right? In a novel I don’t think the motivation that it’s his job, so he has to solve the crime is enough: I think you have to make a connection. So a simple example might be that the victim is also a dad, he leaves behind children, perhaps this stirs something in our detective
So, if you write crime, ask yourself this … will the reader care and how can you make them care so they invest it taking the journey with you?