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C is for Character

C is for Character
This entry is part 3 of 26 in the series A to Z 2014

Unless your book is about wood chips, you probably have at least one character. But do I care about him?

It doesn’t really matter what the book is about or how it’s written as long as the reader cares about the character. What’s going to happen to him or her? Will they succeed? Fail? Get what they want? Or not? Move forward or backward? Die? Be killed off? Fall in love? It doesn’t matter what happens. The only thing that matters is that I care what happens, that I want to know what happens. If you have that, then you have a character.

It doesn’t matter if the character is mean, loving, fat, sick, adorable or a poodle. It does matter if I care what happens to that character. That’s about as best as I can describe it.

Of course then the hard part is, “How do you help your read care about your character?” Aha, yes, there’s that. Quick answer, I don’t know. Slower answer, give me reasons to care. I think the writer needs to give me elements of the character so that I can “get to know him” and then I can judge whether or not I care. Remember, this doesn’t mean that the character needs to be likable, but I need to have something to get to know, elements that I can understand and then choose for myself whether or not I care.

Does your story have a character? Does anyone care?

Does your story have a character? Does anyone care?

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About The Author

Bradley

I don't like to call them excuses. They're priorities. With a handful of exceptions, we usually have a choice in our actions. They just need to be prioritized.

11 Comments

  1. Meli Landry

    Too stinking true. I’ve read many a book that had a shoddy premise, but I loved the characters enough to truly enjoy the book. Happy A2Z!

    Reply
  2. Melanie Stanford

    It’s so true. My problem has always been not the main character(s) but the secondary ones. How can we make the readers care about them when they only come in and out and aren’t the main focus of the book? Something I’m still working on.

    Reply
    • Bradley

      Good point! It’s so hard, isn’t it!? I don’t have the answers either, I’m still working on them. I wonder how much writers really “map out” their characters and give them characteristics and personalities on paper, in notes, in charts and graphs and timelines!

      Reply
  3. Stephanie Scott

    A book with a weak premise but great characters can still be great. I can forgive a lot when there are characters I like and want to root for.

    Reply
    • Bradley

      The best ones (and hardest to accomplish as a writer) are the great premise and great character. Working on it …

      Reply
  4. Ryshia Kennie

    If no one cares about your characters, good or bad, it’s like throwing the bad guy off the bridge with a load of cement – just doesn’t float. Unless they’re as cute as that dog – maybe then they’d get away with being a little cardboard πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Bradley

      I guess cute does get you a certain distance … but even cute needs to have some character, otherwise it’ll sink just as fast in the river. πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  5. Ticen Rothrock

    A really good blog def true

    Reply

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