5 Ways to Make Readers Love Your Characters


Do you ever come across characters whom you ABSOLUTELY AND POSITIVELY ADORE AND WANT TO TAKE HOME AND KEEP FOREVER?

And then you come back to your own WIPs and like. YOU love all of these characters, of course. They're your children. But what if you can't succeed in making EVERYONE ELSE ADORE THEM AS MUCH AS YOU DO??

I've had several of these moments recently, and I've compiled a list of several things I think help with increasing your characters' likability! So, sans further ado, I hope you enjoy. :)

1. Let them teach the reader something.
Let the character have a moment somewhere in the story where they give some seriously good advice to someone/have a major revelation. However, these can't be cheesy, preachy, or frequent - they have to be a very rare occurrence, genuine, and able to be applied to the reader. The reader should walk away thinking, "Wow, Character X really changed my point of view/influenced me in a positive way." The character should stick with them for a while.

2. SNARK.
There are very few things that readers love more than some well-employed snark. Just make sure to not overdo it - it's better to have a few third-degree burns scattered throughout the book than an overflowing bounty of lame first-degrees.

3. Let them have relatable struggles.
The exact struggle will depend on the audience, but giving your character a struggle that most of the audience relates to will invest the reader in the character. It will make them feel like they have someone they can work through the problem with and someone who understands them. Examples of struggles could include problems with grades because of personal or mental issues, trouble making friends, or trying to figure out who they are and experimenting with different images and styles. HINT: Here's a great opportunity to bring in number one. Depending on the outcome of the character's struggle, you can have them subtly teach the reader either what to do or not do in this situation.

4. Make the reader feel sorry for them.
You know those characters that you just want to WRAP UP IN A BLANKET AND TAKE HOME AND TAKE CARE OF FOREVER?? Make your character one of these. Make them smol and undeserving of most of the tragedy that befalls them. Make the readers want to Protect Them At All Costs.

5. Show the reader that your character is a good person.
Don't have other characters go around saying "Wow, Suzie Q is such an awesome person! I wish I could be just like her." Rather, show the reader that your character is a good person and "let" (i.e. surreptitiously guide) the reader to make their own decision on the matter. Examples of how to show, rather than tell, that your character is good are:

  • The character found a stray cat in their backyard and puts milk out every morning and evening.
  • They donate blood.
  • They're a good listener.
  • They give their seat to an elderly person on the bus.

Let's chat! Who are your most beloved fictional characters? Comment below, and remember to have a lovely day, you amazingly gorgeous pickle <3

Namarië,
Ellie

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for the advice. This advice was... dare I say... lit.

    I like the characters Nick Hidaka (Geek Girl), Rin (Geek Girl), Toby (Geek Girl), Shinji Mimura (Battle Royale), Michael Holden (Solitaire). Yeah, I don't read a lot of the same books as my reading peers (basically you guys). Maybe that will change...

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    1. xD I'm glad you enjoyed it.
      I've heard of those books! They sound pretty good :)

      - Ellie

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  2. ooh, i'm using these tips in my novel that i'm writing! :)

    favorite fictional characters. hmm. *taps chin in thought* let's see... shawn from my novel (idk i couldn't figure out a good name for a transgender teen so haha.), annabeth chase from the heroes of olympus series, and thomas from the maze runner series.

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    1. I'm glad you liked them!
      Ah, I'm so glad you're including transgender representation!! *high fives you*

      - Ellie

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  3. Number 4, though. Like, honestly, those characters are my greatest weakness.
    Morally grey characters are also one of my favorites, and I'll immediately adore the book 100x more if it contains one.
    Lovely post, as always, ellie! <3
    xx a

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    1. IKR MAN. Jehan from Les Miz and Faramir from LOTR are the foremost of those characters for me, I think.
      IKR?? Agh, you would love the Vampire Chronicles. Lestat is just like that!
      Thank you!

      - Ellie

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  4. I pretty much always love the characters with snark. Always.
    Halt from the Ranger's Apprentice is a pretty good one. ;)
    Great post, Ellie!
    ~ Suzy | Craftz'n'Craziness, Lookin' Good Designs

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  5. Snark works every time. Great tips!

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  6. Yes yes to all of this. Especially the snarkiness, got to love that snarkiness xD

    My favorite fictional character is Matt Murdock like omg my baby <3

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  7. Ooh, I love all these tips, especially the last one. I feel that even if your character is a bitter little isolated thing, if they're kind or good in even a little way, it's so much easier to love them. I only need one redeeming quality to love a character forever.

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    1. I agree! (Sometimes I don't even need one tbh oops)

      - Ellie

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  8. Yes! I do love snark :) And actually I'm plotting a book where one of the characters has a pretty horrible past, but I have to make him likeable somehow. So I've decided he has a penchant for saving baby birds and nursing them back to health.

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    1. Isn't it awesome??
      BABY BIRDS AW.

      - Ellie

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