Imagine with me for a moment. You open a new book and read the first few lines. The story pulls you in and soon you’re lost. You can’t put the book down. The main character just captivates you and you are compelled to find out how their journey ends!
Ever experience this? If you love reading, then no doubt it has been a repeat occurrence in your life. Characters, more specifically well developed characters, are the reason we have trouble putting a book down, so let’s look at some of those elements today.
First, a memorable character is relatable. There are things about this character with which we identify. It might be their struggle or their personality that feels like, ‘that’s me!’ Or it might be their strengths and weaknesses that recognize in ourselves. Very often, a writer intentionally crafts a character with relatable human qualities so the reader can connect with them.
Second, the character is likeable. When writing characters, (or reading their journey) a character should be someone we like. This means they have qualities we admire or wish we had. They have good habits. If a character does seem a bit offensive, the writer will masterfully craft in redeemable qualities to help the reader develop sympathy.
Third, a character has weaknesses. The hero in the story is of course larger than life and has qualities that support this. They might be stronger than other characters, but they are usually weaker then their enemy. However, sometimes the character is weaker than all the other characters and these are usually beloved characters. They represent the underdog in all of us and we love the payoff of their success or eventually triumph over their enemy.
Fourth, they are well-rounded. This means the character feels like a real person. They have depth and seem very complex which creates tension for the character and the reader (and the writer). If a character lacks this balance, then they feel flat and uninteresting.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and the next time you pick up a book and find yourself lost in the story and rooting for the main character, try to identify what you love so much.
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