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DiAnn Mills | What is the Heart of Story?

February 17, 2016

Stories have souls that breathe immortality.


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 emerge 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.

  • 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 you ensure your story lives beyond the last page of your novel?

About DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills

Expect an Adventure

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; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. 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 her website.

Call of Duty | FBI: Houston




Two murders have rocked the city of Houston. Are they the work of a serial killer, or is a copycat trying to get away with murder?

That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldn’t be more opposite: he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book.

When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked. But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive long enough to solve it.

Buy DEADLOCK: | Kindle|| iTunes/iBooks | Kobo | Google Play | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

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