This is a book sale. I hit it twice this weekend and came home with a lot more books than I needed.
But let's not look at this as a book sale. Let's visualize a character sale.
More than once I heard browsers call the book by the character's name instead of using the title of the book:
"Look, here's a Dave Robicheaux ." A James Lee Burke character.
"I found a Stephanie Plum!" A Janet Evanovich character.
"Here's a Sookie Stackhouse." A Charlaine Harris character.
What is it about these characters that make them so real to so many people? Well, my theory is... it's the little things.
My husband and I haven't read a Dave Robicheaux in years but tonight I asked him what he remembers about Dave. He said: "He poured Dr. Pepper over crushed ice."
I asked daughter to tell me something about Sookie and she answered. "In warm weather, she likes to shave her legs and sunbathe."
Do you see how insignificant these things are? Yet all these little things make up one heck of a character.
So think about the main character of your book and answer these questions:
What pictures hang on his/her wall?
What kind of mail does s/he get? From whom?
Is s/he addicted to chap stick or does s/he drink root beer with barbecue?
Can s/he change a flat, the oil in the car?
Does s/he wash the car or hire it done?
What kind of shampoo does s/he use?
We can't know too much about our characters--whether we use the info or not. The better we know them, the truer they come across in our books. I would love to be at a book sale and hear someone shout, "Wow, I found a Sas Maplewood!"
Yep, that's my series character. I know her well. Maybe one day you will too.