Creating characters your reader cares about

Characters. The people who are essentially the batteries for your story. Without them, the story doesn’t exist. But in order for the reader to keep on reading, you have to create characters that the reader cares about. What does that mean? You reader should be able to relate to your character and feel for them throughout the adventures you make them face. Of course, every story has a likeable and unlikable character, but you don’t want to have characters so unlikable that the reader abandons your book well before ‘The End’.

Characters need to be realistic. They need to have strengths and flaws. I’ve said this in previous posts: you must know your characters inside and out. How do you get the reader to care about your character. Here are some things that I do:

  • give your character a back story. In my novel, my main character loses his best friend at the start of the story. Also, his father left him when he was fourteen. My other character was in juvenile hall for possession of drugs, and now she has a criminal record. Things that happened to a character in the, which they must deal with in the present will make the reader root for your heroines.
  • adversity. I’m instantly hooked with characters that must deal with adversity. A classic example is a young girl that is being bullied at school, or a man being harassed by his ex. Putting your characters in difficult situations not draws interest, but it shows that something is obviously at stake in the story.
  • Fear. What does your character fear most and use it in the story. Make your character face his or her worst fear and your reader will be turning the pages.
  • Dark secrets. Create a character with a dark secret that are afraid to share with anyone. Start out with only the reader knowing it and put the character in a situation where they must reveal it. Your reader will be dying to know how the other characters react.
  • Tension with family. Your characters should have rough relations with certain family members. I also love this in characters. My main character has a rocky relationship with his older brother and must overcome this. Another character had an abusive father and can’t stand her oldest sister. Characters like these make you care about them and hope they can rectify their difficult relationships.

Your reader will relate to your characters because he or she has likely been in these situations themselves. So give these a go and you will be glad you did.

Categories: Writing & Inspiration

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