The thought of creating good characters make people cringe. Unless you are unique and naturally talented, it is a dreadful and stressful activity. The especially hard part is making a good conflicting character — a character that can make the reader cringe in sadness or anger whenever the conflicting character does something irregular.
The knight smiled cruelly as he watched the helpless maiden struggle in the water. As she spluttered for breath, the knight jeered. “I hope your husband survives longer then you!” As the maiden fought for breath, she managed to say, “Why are you doing–” she stopped abruptly and sank down in the water, as an arrow sprouted from her chest. The knight laughed viciously crunched his pet hawk between his hands.
A taste of what an evil character might be like. Of course this is all theoretical, this might not even make you cringe. It’s only an example of what make readers want to keep reading, angry at the evil knight, or full of revenge, waiting for the evil knight to die in the next few pages.
The assassin crept stealthily into the kitchen. The old must have been asleep, for the house was silent. As the assassin began to pile the blueberries from the basket into his satchel, he saw a sudden movement dissolve into the shadows. Either it was his imagination, or something was there. He whisked around facing the corner, and became face to face with a terrified looking kitten. It’s soft fur was fluffed up in fear, and tried to look threatening by raising one little paw in defiance. The assassin snorted and flung the kitten away with a quick flick. It let out a squeak and came charging back angrily. It grappled with his foot. This time the assassin was angry. If the kitten managed to make enough noise, the old man would know and call the police. He grabbed the kitten by the scruff and mercilessly slammed it against the cold hard floor. It gasped for breath and lay feebly on the floor, legs twitching. Satisfied, the assassin resumed his task of the stealing the blueberries. It was not long until once again, he felt sharp teeth and thorn sharp claws penetrate his leg. He snarled and grabbed the kitten by the scruff. He leveled to it’s face. It mewed defiantly and raked his paws across the assassins nose, leaving scarlet droplets rolling down his face. The assassin silently cursed and threw the kitten across the room. It landed with a sickening crunch as it crashed into the heater, unable to keeps its balance. It moved no more. The assassin finished off the last of the blue berries and stepped out into the dark.
Which was sadder? Which one really made you cringe? Think about it. The first example also showed cruelness, but which one really made you feel sad, angry enough to barge in and stop the assassin or the evil knight? It’s up to you!
Point is you want excitement, romance, drama. You want the reader to not be able to put the book down. You want their total allegiance. Take note of the way I kept steady action, rising into a climax. As soon as the kitten was introduced into the story, you knew something bad was going to happen, admit it.