How to make Your Reader Care About Your Character #4

I am skimming over notes I took from a class about creating characters that your reader will care about.

Disclaimer:  I honestly don’t remember where this handout came from. I’m going to paraphrase the topic and think up my own ideas, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m stealing without giving credit.

It should be a given to an author that they need to create characters that their readers will care about. They do not necessarily have to like the character. Some really great characters are very unlikable. But we need to CARE about them, or we won’t keep reading. Right?

So how do we do this?

1.       Relationships.  (See previous post)

2.       Give them a goal (See previous post)

3.       Caring about others (See previous post)

4.       A special gift or talent.

A special gift or talent can be tricky

This one can be tricky, but it can be used when the others fail. A special talent, I think, needs to be part of the plot to make it work.  Like a person loves to draw, so we want to see them become a successful artist.  If they don’t, then why did they have the talent mentioned in the story to begin with?

Make sure it has meaning

This needs to be all about fulfillment. They need to use the talent to make something happen in the story.

Yes, this could be a great device, but be careful to make sure it fits inside your plot and story arc.

What recent special talent have you read that really drew you in to a novel?


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4 responses to “How to make Your Reader Care About Your Character #4

  1. Yes, giving a character a special talent is important, I agree. The main character in my book The Right Wrong Man is a medical editor – that’s a bit different, and drives the story (and of what happens to her). Coincidentally, I worked as a medical editor for 20 years. (!)

  2. Now that you mention are, I recently read The Art Forger by B.A Shapiro. An artist cannot get recognition for her work and has been blacklisted for a painting she did for another artist who had an upcoming show. To make a living, she works for an art reproduction company. She’s approached by an art dealer to copy a Degas. She discovers her painting in the museum as the real deal and no-one believes its her work. In the end she finally gets true recognition for her talent. A wonderful page-turner

  3. Do you remember Dragonsinger? Menolly was beaten for her musical talent and by the end of the book praised for it. Great character development between those pages.