C.S. Lewis' unforgettable opening lines — "There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it" — are a perfect example of how much a book's readability depends on the characters that inhabit it. When I first read those words as a child, I knew very little about where the plot would carry me, and yet I had already decided that I was going to like this book. Why? Because Lewis opened his book with a character that demanded your attention from the start. Already I was wondering why Eustace almost deserved his horrid name. If you don't care about the characters, it doesn't matter what fantastic plot twists the author puts in his story. You may be surprised that a man who seemed trustworthy is really the villain in disguise, but you'll only yawn in boredom when he wounds the protagonist in a duel. After all, what does it matter that the main character may die in the next three pages? You never cared about him in the first place. Frankly, you're more curious about what you'll be eating for lunch.
Obviously we don't want our readers considering the everyday occurence of a midday meal more exciting than the riveting plots we took months, even years to craft just right . . .
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P.S. Don't forget to guess where I'll be stopping tomorrow!