Writing characters can be one of the most difficult things you’ll come across while writing a story. Well, maybe characters aren’t the hardest thing. But creating a character who seems authentic and life-like, a character your readers care about? That’s a different story!
Writing great characters is very difficult. I honestly feel like my characters still need a lot of work. However, as I’ve tried to learn more about writing good characters, I’ve seen that these three simple tips can be very effective if executed well, in creating a character readers will actually connect with. Let’s get started!
Tip #1: Put them in a relatable situation
If you write your characters in a situation that your readers have either dealt with or heard a lot about, that can be a very effective way to get the readers connected to your character quickly. If a character is struggling in a place that the reader did previously, it will allow the reader to have so much more sympathy for the character.
If the character is some perfect king who rules his kingdom without any flaws, and everyone is happy, that’s not going to be the most relatable thing in the world. Not many of us have been in great positions of power, and none of us are perfect!
However, if you make that same king struggling with all of the power and responsibilities he’s been given as king, that makes him a lot more likable, because a lot more of us have struggled with responsibilities before, giving us a reason to sympathize with the character.
Tip #2: Give them a flaw or fear
Like I said above, nobody is perfect. That means your characters shouldn’t be perfect either. No one is going to connect to a character who isn’t struggling with something.
You can tie in this flaw or fear with your character’s situation, or it can be something that happened in their past which now leaves a scar in their lives. It’s honestly up to you, but giving your character this distinct unperfectness in their lives automatically will make them more memorable, easier to connect with, and a better character.
Tip #3: Give them an odd hobby/interest
Weird quirks and hobbies! It seems that everyone has their own little interest or hobby that they enjoy which other people think is weird. That’s part of what makes them unique, or at least shows that they’re different in some way. So, incorporate that into a character by giving them a weird interest or hobby, something that other characters in your story think are strange. This is a great way to get people to care about your character.
That’s it! We did it!
Now, I just want to say, if you simply write down the three ways your character is different while you’re plotting and don’t use them in the story, it’s not going to work. You have to reveal these things well throughout the story, show the hobby and the fear and the flaw as you write. Accentuate on your characters relatable situation, and how they are reacting to it. All of these things will help your readers connect to your character.
When it comes down to it, you can’t tell your readers to like one of your characters. You have to show your character to them, and let them decide for themselves.