A Little Character Goes a Long Way

Things are back on track. I apologize for not being here the last couple of weeks. I just needed a little time to regroup and get my thoughts straight. Anyway, here are my thoughts for this week. I want to talk to you about making characters lovable.

Most of the time, you want your readers to love your characters with a possible exception being your villain. Let me give you three things that will help your characters be likable in your readers eyes. The simple truth is if your readers care about your characters, they will certainly care about what happens to them, and they’ll feel invested in your story.

You probably don’t want your protagonist coming off as sickening sweet, but we certainly want our readers to like him/her.

Perhaps the obvious way to show off your character as likable is to show them doing something kind for somebody. It could be something as simple as showing sensitivity in a conversation with another character. But if you really want your character to shine, show him giving in a self-sacrificial way. Maybe put him in a position to take a beating for someone else, a physically weaker character – maybe have him take the blame for a crime she didn’t commit to spare someone else the pain of prison. But be careful. Your reader also expects justice to be served.

A second way you might make your character likable is to make him an underdog. Everyone loves an underdog. Page by page you can stack the odds against her, and when she comes shining forth as gold. your readers will love her all the more. A possible twist might allow the character to lose his own life in the process – self-sacrificing kindness and the underdog rolled into one. Samson in the Bible, an underdog at the time, sacrificed his life so justice could be served against his evil antagonists.

Thirdly, giving your character, especially your protagonist, a great ability to love usually endears him/her to your reading audience. Certainly, a romance novel would fit into this category, but I’m talking so much more. Perhaps it could be an inseparable friendship. The biblical Jonathan and David fit into this category. A deep love for animals or pets will also work – but please, no Lassie.

These are just some quick thoughts to get you on your way. See what you can do with the ideas and let me know what you think. Have a great week!

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