There's been a lot going on around Casa Staring lately. Revisions being made, to-do's being checked off the never-ending list, vet appointments...

The kitten of mass destruction is healthy, don't you worry. He's currently under the bed, refusing to speak to anyone about what happened during his physical. Poor Zaphod!

And I've also been judging some writing contests. It's a great way to learn about the craft of writing when you see writers do it well and not so well.

No, I'm not naming names (or titles). And I'm not going to get up on a soapbox and say that heroes who play the accordion while channelling the spirits of dead aliens aren't intriguing (and that's just off the top of my head, feel free to use it if you want to), I just want to point out one thing:

When you tell your story, let a reader know why she/he should care.

I'm not trying to be facetious or mean-spirited here. It's just that, sometimes, a writer gets so involved with putting those words on the page, she/he can forget to add those little glimpses into a character's psyche that reveal what makes them special.

You know, like the villain who hates lime Jell-O. Or the heroine who brings dental floss to a gunfight. Or something a little deeper than the water left on the counter at a public restroom.

It's kind of like why I'm happily watching this season of Glee despite the lack of plot. All the characters are quirky, fun and have their fair share of teen angst struggles, and I care about what happens to them. Would I feel the same way if Season 1 never happened? I'm not sure.

How about you? What's a must-have for you to keep reading past page one?

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