Whenever we begin to read a novel or watch a movie, one main factor will entice us to finish them. We must be able to relate to one or more characters in the story.
If a connection between that reader and at least one character is not established, there’s little chance they’ll stick around for the entire journey. It’s really a question of a story’s opening and the patience level of the reader.
There are many variables at play here, and many of them can’t be controlled by the writer. It depends on other things like whether or not the reader likes the genre or if they are in the mood for reading a story at the moment.
And also, one significant factor is how well the reader liked the previous story they read. If they enjoyed it immensely, then the opening of your story probably won’t match up to their expectations. The opposite is also true – if they just suffered through a boring book, then yours may be very enjoyable for them.
The Importance of Character Development
The one thing that you can control and it matters tremendously to your reader is how you craft your characters. If you have the skill to create relatable characters for your reader, you shouldn’t have any problem attracting and keeping readers lined up to read your future books.
I don’t know about you, but several times I found myself reading a very well-written book that had an excellent plausible plot, but for some reason, I felt more annoyed as I kept reading. Then it would dawn on me that I didn’t like any of the characters – and then I would lose interest altogether.
One thing I need to point out about characters. You don’t necessarily have to like them.
Sometimes, the character can be evil but exciting. You suddenly become eager to find out their next move. Perhaps, they satisfy that deep desire we’ve had within ourselves to be bold and devious like they are. These kinds of characters will work very well in your stories.
Five Powerful Ways to Create Interesting Characters
Now let us look at five ways to help you create those unforgettable characters that will make your stories pop right off the page.
Create characters that have many of your interests
There legitimate reasons for letting your characters have some of your interests. It will be easier for you to make them exciting and to write details about life. You will easily think their thoughts and speak their dialog because you already feel them in your own life.
Keep in mind that they can also share other interests too, but if they have one of yours, then it allows you to make them relatable because you can already relate to them.
Craft a relatable theme for them
Put of being relatable is being plausible. If your reader believes when your character does something that he or she could really do that, then that’s half the battle of making them likable. Remember to keep plausibility in the picture – especially when the reader is still getting acquainted with the character.
Later in your story, after some rapport has been built in the reader’s mind, then the character can get away with doing something outrageous.
Reveal their flaws and inner conflict
Showing your character’s flaws to readers is perhaps the most powerful way to establish rapport. The reason is that flaws are incredibly human. In fact, a study was conducted where humans were asked to work with robots on a project. Researchers found that only after these robots made a mistake would the humans connect with them – because this made them more human.
This is why we build rapport through our imperfections and our flaws. This is how we can powerfully connect our characters and readers.
Now consider the inner conflicts that our characters have. If we can let our characters experience the same kind of internal dialog that our readers have, then we’ve sealed the deal!
Point out their false beliefs
Whenever our character falsely believes something will happen or that they see the world in a false light, we feel an assortment of feelings for them. And getting readers to feel emotions about your characters is precisely what you want.
If our words are generating emotion, then we are doing something right.
False beliefs in our characters give us more opportunities to spark different emotions. If our reader likes the character who has a false belief, they will feel sadness, pity, and empathy. If it’s a character they don’t like, then they feel satisfaction and a sense of justice. Either way, we’ve gotten the reader to feel secondary emotions for our characters, which will deepen their view of the character.
Make every character complex in some way
Every book or story will have secondary characters that will not be fully developed. A clever way to make these secondary characters appear more developed is to add something complex to them.
You could open up a brief bit of inner dialog with them that indicates deep thought. Perhaps you could have them make a comment or take an action that is not fully explainable (but is plausible), leaving the reader wondering.
You don’t have to overdo this method; just scatter it throughout your story – and let them be a little unpredictable.