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. (See previous post)
5. A handicap
Oooooo. That’s a good one.
Here’s a good one. Even though you might not be handicapped, you can imagine what it would be like, right? You feel for someone with a disability.
This came up recently in a comment on my blog, when someone mentioned that the horrid character on the TV show House was softened because he had a handicap.
How about a phobia?
A phobia is a good one two… something they need to overcome in order to fulfill their purpose of hero in the story.
Or something even more simple and relatable
Maybe it is something simple, like they need to run for their lives and the only car available to flee in has a stick shift, but the character does not know how to drive a stick.
Anything wrong with your character is an easy way to make them relatable. No one wants to read about someone who is perfect, right?
Unless you are Mary Poppins. (But she was only practically perfect, right?)
Five ways to create the ever-important care-factor. Give your readers characters that they can care about, and they will scream for more!
She made him even more beautiful than even I could imagine (Edward Cullen) . That might be shallow, but it’s honest.
In novels, there is space or word count to allow for fully fleshed out characters with strengths as well as weaknesses. I think to get the reader interested in your protagonist; he or she needs to have both…as well as mountains of problems to deal with for a book-length story.
As always, Jennifer, I learn so much about writing from your blog. Thank you so much.
Glad you found it helpful!