A Character to Root For

6:00 AM

So for October, we're all (well most of us) getting ready to write new books in preparation for the ever famous NaNoWriMo. If you're unfamiliar with this, YOU MUST ACQUAINT YOURSELF. Nano isn't for everyone, but it's super fun and usually very productive.

So I like to do a little sort-of-not-really-series on the basic foundations of writing.

Post one, hence the title, will be on characters.



I could do an 8 week, daily posting series on characters. I could do an 8 month post series on characters. In fact, I could probably go and create and entire blog dedicated solely to creating and developing real characters that people will love and cherish.

But today I'm going to touch on just a few aspects of characters that make them ones we want to stay with. Character we root for. How we create characters, how we help them become their own person, and what we do with them once they've formed.



I want to make a quick note. I am going to highlight three aspects of character that I find make me root for them. When I posted about making your scene emotionally gripping, having a character to root for was one of the key aspects of that.

But how do you do that? How do you craft a character that people will want to read about?


#1: Make them interesting.

No one wants to read about the next door neighbor taking care of their cat for 8 weeks. That's not unique, and as a result, really not captivating.

I just read the first book of The Reckoners trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. I loved it so much, and one of my favorite aspects of the books was David, the main character. I didn't really connect to him on an emotional level, but man was that guy fun to read about! He has so many quirks that make me just want to grab him and hug him, or better yet--sit and watch his movie for a while.


#2: Make them sympathetic. 

Even if they seem a little dull, if your character makes people cry or threatens to wrench their hearts right out of their chests, they're likely to keep reading anyway. When you  have a character that you really feel bad for, a character who has captured your heart, you're not going to put the book down anytime soon. You have to see how they survive!


#3: Make them relatable. 

If all else fails, do your best to make them relatable. Most characters should be relatable on some level, but if you character is kind of dull and completely unsympathetic, a relatable character can often make the difference between someone picking up a book and leaving it on the shelf.

They don't have to be relatable in a huge way. It could be a common quirk they have, or a certain phrase they use. More often though, you'll fin the most power in lies they believe, and other struggles they are battling. I actually bought a book one time because from what I read of the blurb, I knew I would benefit from the main character's story.



Even if you already have a pretty good idea of who your character is, I would reccommend checking over these three aspects. A character readers will root for is so important. It can make the difference between reading the story, and not reading.

I'll share a piece of why I think the MC of my nano novel is relatable! I'm going to be writing the second book to my YA Fantasy series, and my MC (Rissa) is sympathetic. In book one, she lived in a really tough situation. She was hopefully fairly interesting and relatable, but her situation making her sympathetic was what I really think will make readers want to finish her story. They want to see her rise above the challenges she faces and conquer.


What about you? Are you doing nano this November? If you are (or if you're not!), what trait does your character have to make them a character to root for?

<3

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12 comments

  1. Thanks for the NaNo prep post! I've been focusing a lot more on my characters this year and it seems to be going well so far.

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    1. Ahhh yay! I usually find if I can figure out who my cast is, the finer issues of my story will fall into place, tying plot and character together.

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  2. Character's either make a story for me, or break it.
    Great tips!

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    1. YES! Most of the books I've put down are because I could't stand the MC.

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  3. I'm not entirely sure if I'm doing NaNo or not. I'm trying to finish up an old story. The main character is basically kind of like me? xD

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    1. That's fun! Characters that are like us tend to be hard to write, but once you figure them out they're super fun and you can connect with them really deeply!

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  4. The main character in my NaNo novel is pretty average, and the story is about her learning to be okay with that. I was nervous at first but I think a lot of people will actually root for a person like that. Stories are filled people who do extraordinary things, but not everybody can do magic or kill ten bad guys with one knife or be the best singer in the entire school. Everyone can relate to feeling average.

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    1. Yessssss. Thank you for this. You must tell me more about this idea!! <3 (I love your new profile pic, btw!)

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  5. Wonderful tips! I always try and make my characters at least sympathetic, if not the other two, but I hope they're those as well. xD As for what trait Bakari from OTAT has to make a reader root for him...his self-doubt makes him painfully raw for me, and I hope that communicates across the page. :)

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    1. Awwwwwwwwwwwwww *hugs Bakari* *can i just ASKLDJFH about how epic that name is* *thank you* AJSKDFALHSDKJF I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS STORY! Self-doubt is a big one though *pats*

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  6. These are really helpful tips! I'm trying to develop one of my main characters right now, and this is some good stuff to think about. :)

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    1. I'm glad! Best of luck to you in your characters! :)

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