Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Stories Have Souls That Breathe Immortality

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

An unforgettable story steps beyond “Once upon a time” to a kingdom that captures the heart of a reader forever. Not every story has that golden world, and not every reader experiences the same soul-grabbing story. What lingers as a memorable novel for me may not give you an exceptional read. But what we will agree upon is the story touched us, spoke to us, and we were passionately involved in the lives of the characters and their quest.
The magic kingdom is filled with rare, distinct, haunting, and extraordinary characters who accompany us to our sweet spot of remembrance. Readers and writers dream the character is real and imagine themselves joining the journey. Some readers become the hero or heroine, much like children don super-hero costumes and develop mannerisms of their favorite character.

How does a writer accomplish this amazing feat? Is there a magic wand to wave over our keyboard?
There’s no fairy dust in writing. It’s all hard work.

We labor to create characters who are:
  • Multi-dimensional.
  • Full of life.
  • Possess authentic flaws.
  • Solid victories.
  • Believable strengths.

We immerse them into difficult settings.
We immerse them into a setting that is determined to see the character fail by tossing rocks, swords, bullets, bombs, lies, and the hero’s worst fears into their paths. (Think Indiana Jones and his aversion to snakes.)
We offer the character a way out of his predicament, but the hero refuses. When knocked down, he gets back up. When bleeding he smacks on a Band-Aid and keeps moving. When he’s defeated in battle, he understands the war is not over.
They inspire us to be better people.
  • The characters are unique.
  • The characters are not afraid to love or give.
  • They are secure in who they are.
  • They are confident in their abilities and willing to learn new skills.
  • They accept a higher deity called God is in charge of the universe.
  • They make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Their appeal is shown in their response to life’s challenges.
  • They inspire us to be better people.
  • They offer hope in a world that threatens our peace of mind.

Is a writer always successful in establishing the immortal character? Unfortunately, not. But we never give up because it’s in our DNA for each book to be better written than the previous one. We writers are committed to our craft, so that our stories and their characters will live forever in a reader’s mind and heart.

How do your characters show heart?

Stories have souls that breathe immortality - @DiAnnMills on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. 

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. 

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. 

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at


  1. DiAnn, Thank you for this insight. I am writing my first YA novel with my son. We have read character development. You explain it well. Thank you.

  2. A very insightful post! Thank you! I especially like your original quote that is the title. Blessings!

  3. Hi MaryAnn, Thanks for posting - appreciate your support.

  4. Great overview of how to wrap a character inside a plot to create a story that lives on in a readers mind.

  5. Great overview of how to wrap a character inside a plot to create a story that lives on in a readers mind.

  6. Sometimes, it's hard to reach another person's soul, despite the faith, hope, and love an author pours into a book. A lot of today's readers are looking for a quick thrill rather than a meaningful journey of the mind and spirit. Genres have limited what we can and cannot do within the context of a story.

    Thanks for a beautiful and inspirational post, DiAnn. Pinned & shared. :)

  7. There's nothing more wonderful than entering a world someone has created and peopled with characters that bring us laughter, sorrow, enlightenment, and sometimes the knowledge that there are others who have had the experiences we've had and shared some of the same feelings.

  8. Then there are those characters who have been trained to take on all kinds of challenges but something happens in their personal lives that emotionally side-swipe them. They 'lick their wounds' and get back in the game. However, some readers may take that as them being cold-hearted but really they learned to get back out there otherwise the battle truly would be lost and the bad guys would win.